Shoo Fly Pies

Shoo Fly Pies






Shoo Fly Pies

(Literally and Figuratively)

Gordon was born in Pennsylvania in 1965.  The Whann family grew up around the food and cultures of Pennsylvania.  Germantown, The Amish, The Pennsylvania Dutch, The Mennonites….  They had friends that had a restaurant in Ortanna, and Gettysburg, called the Dutch Cupboard,  where they would cook local Pennsylvania dishes specializing in their Shoo-Fly Pie.  Gordon has very fond memories of his “Uncle Sam” (that wasn’t actually his uncle, he just went to college with Gordon’s mother Sarajane.)  Gordon also remembers making Sauerkraut, and candles.  Gordon and his family enjoyed the Hay Rides and Gordon also witnessed his first pig being slaughtered.  Ahh…. the fond memories of our youth……

His parents would visit marketplaces that sold the local goods of the cultural peoples. 

My, Julie’s, family also visited Pennsylvania when I was a young girl.  We spent some time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I remember seeing the carriages of the Amish people and how they don’t like their pictures taken.  I come from a family of photographers and we would have loved to have taken their photos but we did respect them and their cultures, and didn’t.

I myself remember visiting the marketplaces and my parents buying the local goods of canned jars of jelly’s, and of course, a Shoo Fly Pie!

A few years ago I told Gordon that we need to make his mother’s Shoo Fly Pie recipe that she got from the local Pennsylvania Dutch people for his birthday.  Seeing as how we both remember the pie from our childhoods, and his family culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch.  They were after all, Pennsylvania German’s.  There is a Pennsylvania German community that Gordon’s mother grew up in because of her parents.

History is always tied with food.  Family is always tied with food.  Culture is always tied with food.


Julie and Gordon


Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo Fly Pie

(This is Gordon’s mother’s Shoo Fly Pie recipe and although it is not the most delicious of this pie, it is probably the most authentic.  She got this recipe from the local women of the cultures of Pennsylvania that made this pie for generations.)

Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo Fly Pie

(I am going to write this exactly as my mother-in-law did on her recipe to us.  The only thing not authentic would be the ready made pie shell.)

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Crumb Topping:

1 Cup Flour

1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening

Liquid Bottom:

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup Boiling Water

1 Cup Golden Molasses (or regular molasses if you can’t find the Golden one.)

1/4 tsp. Salt


Combine Crumb Topping

Ingredients in a small bowl and cut with a pastry blender until fine crumb.

(While preparing the liquid bottom, put the unbaked pie shell in a preheated 350F oven for 5 minutes to prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy.)

To make the liquid bottom, dissolve baking soda in the boiling water.  Add molasses and salt and stir until well blended.  Pout the liquid into the prebaked pie shells.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the top.  Bake at 350F. for 40 – 45 minutes.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Gordon’s mother just told us over the telephone that she would alternate the Molasses with the Crumb Topping while building up the pie before baking.  Kind of like layering.   We’ll have to try that next time.  🙂

She also said she would be sending some photographs for me to add here.  I’ll post those when I receive them. 



I, Julie, bought this Hexology book in Lancaster, Pennsylvania when I was a very young girl.  I also bought the cute little heart Hexology sign with the the birds that you see in the photo above and below.  The heart represented love, the two birds (Distlefink for good luck, TWO for extra good luck) are seen on quite a few of these signs although not exactly as they are painted on mine.  They represent harmony and happiness.

I actually did a book report on it for a Speech Class that I had.  I believe in 5th. grade but I’m not really sure.

I loved driving all over Pennsylvania and seeing these beautiful and colorful hand painted signs on barns, houses, businesses…..  They were so lovely!

The Pennsylvania Dutch are a very religious people, and also a very superstitious people.  (I think those two go hand in hand.)  The Hexerie, or Hex, were used to bring good luck, or scare off witch craft, to bring rain, sun, or fertility, strength in body, mind and character, etc….

Pennsylvania does have a very unique history and culture.  I told Gordon that he needs to pick his parents brains for all their unique Pennsylvania recipes of their cultures and past.  Such a rich history.  I hope that we can bring that to you very soon.  But until then, here is a classic Shoo Fly Pie for you to feast upon.


Shoo-Fly Pie

Here is a picture of the ingredients which are listed above.

First mix your dry ingredients (flour and brown sugar) together in a bowl.

Then add your shortening and using a pastry blender, shown bottom left picture, cut it into the dry goods.  It is basically used the same way you would a potato masher.  The individual blades mix the shortening and dry ingredients together into little beads.

Here is a before and after shot after using the pastry blender.


Next, add your baking soda to a measuring cup…

….and your salt to a medium bowl.

Now, add your Molasses to the bowl…

While the water is being heated to a boil, crimp the edges of the store bought crust to give it that hand-made touch.

Pre-bake the crust in the oven to keep the crust from getting soggy when the molasses is poured into it later.


When the water is boiling, add it to your measuring cup with the baking soda.


Now, pour the boiling water into the molasses and stir until well combined.

Here, you can see the baking soda reacting with the molasses.

Pour all the molasses into the pre-baked pie shell as shown.  My mother said a trick one of the bakers told her was to alternate the liquid and dry ingredients, as Julie talks about above.


Now, spread all the dry ingredients over the entire pie evenly.

Adding the Crumb Topping


Lastly, place the pie into the middle of the oven as shown.

When done, let the pie completely cool to let the molasses bottom solidify/slightly congeal.

Let Cool!

Shoo Fly, don’t bother me,

Shoo Fly, don’t bother me,

Shoo Fly, don’t bother me,

Cause I belong to Some-Bod-Y!  🙂


Gordon and Julie



Click Here For:  P. Buckley Moss

This is My P. Buckley Moss Wooden Trinket Box

(Front and Back)

I was thrilled to purchase it in 1996. 

It houses some trinkets of mine.


Patricia Buckley Moss, otherwise known as P. Buckley Moss, is an artist in her 80’s who currently lives in Virginia.  She was born in New York City and raised in Staten Island.  She takes her life’s inspirations and puts brush to paper.  She is known for her love of the Amish and Mennonite people.

My mother-in-law, Sarajane Alderfer Whann, is a huge admirer of hers and has been collecting the art of P. Buckley Moss for as long as I have known Gordon.  That would be 38 years at this writing, 2020.

My P. Buckley Moss Crossed Stitch Patterns

I was thrilled to find them at a craft store in Rome, Georgia one summer.  Rome is my hometown.  Of course they were on the sale rack greatly reduced.  (The people of Rome aren’t exactly into the Amish and Mennonite communities.)

I love owning them even though I know I will probably never make any of them.

My mother-in-law Sarajane, is an expert at Crossed Stitch. 

We even have several that she has made for us and given as gifts through the years. 

It really is a dying art.

It was Sarajane that influenced me where P. Buckley Moss was concerned, and I decided that I wanted to collect a few of her things.  According to Sarajane, the reason that she was drawn to Ms. Moss is because she loved her stylized paintings of the Amish people and geese.  I was drawn to Ms. Moss because of my own experiences in Pennsylvania seeing the Amish and the Mennonite people at the country markets, and their charming horse drawn carriages as they would gallop on by down the roads.


These are my framed P. Buckley Moss prints.  I purchased them at a very unique store in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee one Christmas when I was visiting some old friends in Sevierville.  I was excited to find them.  I took them and had them framed.  And now sadly, they hang in our toilet room in our bathroom because I just have no where else to put them.

I especially love this Georgia print as I am from Georgia and it does look a bit like Tara, the most famous fictional house in the south.

My little charming Christmas ornament that hangs on a lamp beside my bed.