Tag Archives: baking

Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy

Internet, you will no doubt recognize the title of this post as that of the popular song.

What do you mean, you have no idea what I’m talking about? You really ought to get out more, Internet. (Speaking of which, it is¬†still 1946, right?)

My loving father, who being of Pennsylvania Dutch origin is a huge fan of shoo fly pie, recently introduced me to this song, which he once sited to prove to my mother, who is of Southern heritage, that shoo fly pie is, in fact, a thing that exists. Interestingly, the other dessert mentioned in the song seems to hail from the south. According to my mother, my grandfather spoke fondly of apple pan dowdy, though she never got any. This resulted in apple pan dowdy being a Mythical Dish, so naturally I could not help but make some. In accordance with the song, I made shoo fly pie as well, to the delight of my father.

Now, for those of you clutching your craniums and wondering what these two mysterious dishes could possibly be, probably because they sound made up and/or inedible, allow me to explain. Shoo fly pie is a pie (obviously) that contains two mixtures. The first is a crumb mixture, consisting mainly of flour and sugar, but flavored by a myriad of spices including nutmeg and cinnamon. The second is a liquid mixture, the primary ingredient of which is molasses. Oh, and you have to make your own pie crust, or you’re a quitter. Anyway, the crumb and liquid mixtures are layered and then the whole thing is baked. It’s unusual, but tasty. (Here’s a recipe, though I’m afraid it’s different from the one I used as that one is not on the internet.)

Apple pan dowdy, which is not¬†apple pie, also involves making your own pie crust (seriously, don’t be a quitter). However, this crust goes on top of the dish, covering a delightful mixture of apple slices, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and oh yeah, a quarter cup of orange liquor. Yes, the alcohol all cooks out. True to its name, I cooked this dish in a pan, although it is baked. We topped it with caramel icecream, and you can’t have any! (Here’s the recipe I used, though.)

So, what did we learn from this experience? Well, we learned that making pie crust, though it requires effort, is not necessarily nightmarish. We also learned that the people of ye olden times knew what they were doing when it came to desserts. And of course, we learned that you should never play me an old song about strange foods, or I will make them. (Unless I’m at college, in which case I will weep softly and go back to eating my sad dining hall pasta.) I ask you to use this knowledge only for good.

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