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Friday, June 24, 2016

Shoofly Pie inspired by Pies and Prejudice | #FridayPieDay

Shoofly Pie
Somehow today is already the last Friday in June, and although I'm always happy to see #FridayPieDay arrive, I'm having a hard time reconciling that I have no idea where this month went. But alas, I do have a delicious pie inspired by a fun book series to share with you today, and that is what's important.

I happen to love cozy mysteries, especially when they revolve around food. Imagine my delight when I came across a series called the "Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries" by author Ellery Adams. What makes me like them even more is that they contain another little element that I love woven into my food and mystery stories—magic!

The first book in the series is called Pies and Prejudice, which is what caught my Austen-loving eye in the first place. Our main character and pie baker, Ella Mae flees New York City to go back home to Havenwood, Georgia, when she catches her husband cheating on her. Once reunited with her mom and aunts, her "LeFaye woman" magic makes itself known. Each woman has her own special enchantment, Ella Mae's being that she can bake her feelings...literally.
Shoofly Pie inspired by Pies and Prejudice
Her mother and aunts recognize her gift before she does and offer to help her recognize her dream of opening a pie shop . As everything is starting to look up, the fiance of her high school nemesis is found dead, the apparent murder weapon being Ella Mae's rolling pin. Ella Mae sets out to clear her name and find the real killer lest The Charmed Pie Shoppe is ruined before it even opens its doors.

I loved the mystery, the characters, the setting, and the story itself, but the enchanted pies were the real stars of the book. Although the other LeFaye women realize it before she does, whatever Ella Mae is feeling at the moment she's preparing and baking the pies is infused into them. When she first returns home after discovering her husband cheating, she bakes a (fittingly) blueberry pie and the sadness hanging over her gets baked right inside.

As each woman settles in to eat a slice of her pie, an air of "heartache and regret" overtakes the formerly jovial mood, and each of them start remembering past loves. Ella Mae is bewildered when a blue tear slipping down her Aunt Dee's cheek actually makes her aunt smile and she wipes it and proclaims it not blue, but indigo, the shade of blueberries and heartache.

There was a bunch of pie inspiration in the book to choose from, but I chose to go with a pie that I hadn't tried before (but always wanted to). There are actually a few recipes included at the back of the book, one of them being a Shoofly Pie. I used that recipe as my base, and infused some of the magic from the book passage that it comes from, as well.
Shoofly Pie
Ella Mae's old high school crush Hugh still lives in town and he's more handsome than ever (and a hunky fireman to boot). Although she's curious and mega-attracted to him, she wants her divorce to be finalized before she even begins to explore that road. They are friends, though, and when he drops by help her at the pie shop one morning, the desire between the two is infused straight into those Shoofly Pies inspired by the ones that Hugh's grandmother used to make him.

Turns out the pies lighted a fire under everybody who ate a slice, causing passions to flare all over town. How could I resist trying the rich, seductive pie that started that kind of commotion?

Watch for more FridayPieDay posts inspired by the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries in the future (I'll be checking them out from the library one by one and baking something inspired by each)...because we could all use a little more magic in our days.

Shoofly Pie
With a rich, sweet molasses filling that resembles custard and a crumble topping, flies aren't the only ones you'll be shooing away from this pie!
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Shoofly Pie
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes in fridge (crust)
Cook Time: 38 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian soy-free molasses spice pie American

Ingredients (1 (9-inch) Pie)
  • 1 single 9-inch pie crust, homemade or storebought
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup (see notes)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
Roll out the pie crust dough and fit it into a 9-inch glass pie plate; trim the edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Combine flour, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Scoop out 1/2 cup and reserve.

Add molasses, golden syrup, egg, and baking soda to the bowl and process until smooth and combined, scraping down the sides as needed. With the processor on, pour in the boiling water until combined.

Remove the pie plate from the fridge and set on the prepared baking sheet. Pour the liquid filling into the crust (it will look like there's not enough, but don't worry, it puffs during baking). Scatter the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the top.

Slide the tray carefully into the hot oven and bake for 18 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden and the edges of the pie are set, the center is still a bit wobbly, and the filling is puffed up.

Set pie on wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. Good with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

I used half molasses and half golden syrup to try and replicate the flavor of King Syrup, which was used in the pie that Ella Mae made for Hugh in the book, Pies and Prejudice. Feel free to use 1 cup of King Syrup instead of the molasses and golden syrup, or 1 cup of either molasses or golden syrup instead of combining them. You could also add a little honey to the mix, but don't go over 1 cup total of whichever liquid sweetener you choose to use.

Cinnamon and cloves aren't a traditional addition to Shoofly Pie, but again, I wanted to use them since the book did. I think they added a nice hint of magic to the pie, but feel free to omit them.
Shoofly Pie
My friend Stacy from Food Lust People Love is joining me again this month and she's made a Staffordshire Yeomanry Pudding (it's got two crusts and is baked with jam and custard filling inside - sounds pretty enchanting, wouldn't you say?).

#fridaypieday at - sharing pie on the last Friday of every month.
Grab a plate and a fork, it's time for PIE! Pull a chair up to the table and help me dive deeper into the wonderful world of pie; from fruit pies to nut pies to cream pies to icebox pies and savory pot pies and skillet pies. Whether it's a traditional round pie, a slab pie, or even a hand pie—it's going to be all about the pie.

Join me on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration. For more information and recipes, please check out my #FRIDAYPIEDAY page!