The grand rush of calls are pouring in on our King Arthur Flour baker's hotline, and everyone's playing with pie crust this time of year. They want to freeze it, fill it, parbake it and roll it without it tearing. Sometimes folks just want to throw it against the wall because pie crust can be a pain and there's so much to do and just not enough TIME!

When my mom needed me to hurry, she would say, "You're slower than molasses in January!"

Time. Always competing with us, especially at the holidays. Do we linger over the stove, or play with our families? Do we slave over the cleanup, or leave the mess so we can mingle? I vote for the latter in both situations.

Holiday traditions, when it comes to food, seem more inflexible as time passes – like grandpa's old habits or the well-loved but ugly chair with rotten upholstery that survives every living room redecoration. We thrive on comfort and familiarity because it's hard to embrace change.

The holiday pie menu is always the same old story, right? Pumpkin, apple, pecan, mincemeat. Been there. Done that (even when I'd rather have not).

Are you bored with your annual Thanksgiving tarts but too intimidated to throw something new on the festive table? Is that nagging spouse bullying you into making the same sweet potato marshmallow pie every year? I'm here to offer you a way out of your routine pie-making rut! It's an easy recipe that will leave you plenty of time to celebrate with your loved ones.

During the 18th century, when life was slower and simpler, Lancaster, Pennsylvania settled the first large group of Mennonites and Amish, along with a few affordable staple foods – molasses being one among them.

From this sticky sweet sugar, and a few other humble ingredients, the settlers created a now legendary Pennsylvania-Dutch favorite, shoofly pie, named for its ability to attract flies while sitting to cool in the windowsill.

Easy? Yes! Gluten-free? Uh-huh. And what's even better? There are only a few simple ingredients to make this rich, gluten-free dessert. It's an all-in-one pie and coffeecake stick-to-your-fork treat!  I hope you'll read on and add this one to your repertoire.


You can begin by preheating your oven to 375°F and lightly greasing a 9" pie plate.

To make the crust crumbs, combine the following ingredients in a medium-sized bowl:


Add 1/3 cup soft butter.


With two forks or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs.


Line your 9" pie plate with 2 cups of the crumb mixture, starting with the bottom.


Push the crumbs evenly up the sides of the pan to the top edge. Reserve the remainder of the crumbs for the top of the pie.


Bring about 1 cup of water to a boil; you'll only need 3/4 cup, but some will evaporate.


While waiting for the water to boil, mix 1/2 cup golden syrup, 1/2 cup molasses, and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda; set aside.


When the water is boiling, add 3/4 cup of it to the molasses mixture, and stir thoroughly.


Carefully pour the molasses mixture over a spoon (this will prevent creating a hole in the crust) into the crumb crust.


Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top. Place in the oven immediately, and bake for 25 minutes. The top will be cake-like, while the bottom will be sticky and gooey.


Remove the pie from the oven, and cool completely before serving. Shoofly pie is best served at room temperature with whipped cream, though a true traditionalist may ask you to warm it for them slightly.

If you question the motions, you could consult my following of Pennsylvania-Dutch relatives who not only donated this family recipe for gluten-free conversion, but who have shared it at their tables through many generations and holidays. I could feel my aunts and uncles looking at me sideways when I wrote to tell them my plan for this recipe at King Arthur Flour. For the first time, I'm taking it beyond the boundaries of our small family circle. I hope my tradition can help bring a new variety to yours this holiday season.

Time isn't something we get back in our lives, so let this recipe remind you to slow down a little.

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Gluten-Free Shoofly Pie.

Print just the recipe.


The Author

About Amy Trage

Amy Trage is a native of Vermont where she spent much of her childhood skiing and training for the equestrian event circuit. With a strong desire to pursue food writing, Amy took her English degree from Saint Anselm College to the New England Culinary Institute where she immediately discovered a focused interest in baking and pastry. Both The Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, and The Inn at Shelburne Farms helped shape her skills in dessert-making. She came to King Arthur Flour in November, 2010, where she found an outlet for both baking and writing. Amy likes to spend time with her three children. Any other free time may find her singing, running or working on her poetry collection.

View all posts by Amy Trage