On the Road to Berks County, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

If you want something that is really representative of this area, don’t forget to have a Birch Beer (I did) and a slice of Shoofly Pie!

A trip back home to Pennsylvania would not be complete without a visit to my old stomping grounds in Chestnut Hill where I went to high school.  The cobblestone roads and cute little shops haven’t changed much over the years.  One of my favorites was always the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop.

We ended the day with a drive into Philadelphia and a walk on South Street.  It is always colorful there (in many ways!).  I used to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show at TLA Cinema on South Street when I was in high school (oh my, that was a long time ago…).  Dinner at an Italian restaurant was the perfect way to end the day.

If you want to experience a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish at home, then you’ll enjoy this recipe for Shoofly Pie from my aunt’s mother, Helen.

Enjoy your week!

Helen's Shoofly Pie

A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert.


For crust:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 teaspoon
5 tablespoons ice water

For filling:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup hot water
1 cup dark molasses
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


For crust:
Mix flour, Crisco and salt together in a medium bowl with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water until mixture comes together to form a ball. Wrap in Saran Wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to make for easier handling.

When ready, roll out dough and put into a 9-inch pie plate.

For filling:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine flour, light brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl and with a pastry blender, mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Take 1/2 of that mixture and set aside.

Dissolve baking soda in 1/4 cup of the hot water in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the crumb mixture. Pour this mixture into the prepared pie shell and then top with the other 1/2 mixture of the crumb topping.

Bake pie for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake for approximately another 20-25 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is set.

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