Monday, August 22, 2011

Altitude aptitude! - Shoo Fly Pie

I've lived in Salt Lake City, UT all my life. You'd think I'd be used to the altitude by now, right?? WRONG! This last weekend, I had a wake-up call regarding my high climate life. Last weekend was the fiance's birthday, the big 3-1. :)
Traditionally, we have a dinner at my mom's house and the birthday boy/girl gets to pick what we make for it. Matt requested Jaeger Schnitzel (yay-ger shnit-zle)...yup, I DID just Google that for spelling...and Shoo-Fly Pie instead of cake (because he's crazy, my question: how do you improve cake?). My mom's job was the entree and I was assigned the pie. For those who are not familiar with Pennsylvania-Dutch cooking, this is a wonderful molasses and cinnamon treat! I've only had it once in my life, so perhaps I wasn't the best person for the job...but I decided to give it a shot. I spent a while looking online for recipes and settled on one that had good reviews by Pennsylvanians (they would know, right?). Thank YOU food network, you never fail me.
The pie consists of three layers, the bottom is a crumb mixture (cobbler-like), the middle is the molasses, cinnamon, and cloves. And the top is more of the crumb/cobbler mixture. Let me emphasize, this is one of the EASIEST recipes known to man. Seriously, I can make the most SIMPLE recipes go wrong. I have a knack for it! Proven, keep reading.  ;)
Anyway, Saturday came, and I was so excited to successfully make my first pie! Until, dun dun dun, I came across the one ingredient that would be my downfall....BAKING SODA. Blast the baking soda! The recipe (see below) calls for 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and not thinking, I just threw that bugger right in with the mixture. No problem. Done.
Put it in the oven...wait 30 minutes...
The whole thing went EVERYWHERE in the oven! Epic. fail.
Matt, my wonderful logical half, said, "Oh, wow...what could have caused that?"
Me: "Probably the baking soda...but I don't understand, I did JUST what it says! Ugh!"
Matt: "Huh. Well you accounted for the altitude, right?"
Me: crickets, crickets, crickets....."Ummmmm...."
Matt: "There, there...."
Yeah, whoops. He promptly looked up the conversion for me, and JUST SO YOU ALL KNOW, in Utah, always reduce the baking soda content by 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Yeah, that'll make a difference!
Good news, not all of the pie ran off.  Bad news, half the pie ran off.  :( *pouty face* And unfortunately, you need the top cobbler part to help solidify the middle/liquid part. Soooo, only half the pie was baked and edible. Saaaad. But, I will say, the part that was baked was DE-LISH!!! And bless my family and Matt's hearts, they were sooo nice about it....awww.  :)
So, here is the recipe, compliments of Food Network. I promise, it really is very simple, I just did the ONE thing I could wrong. I told Matt next year I promise a full pie. ;)

Wishing you happy and properly-leavened baking!

Shoo Fly Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

Pastry: (I didn't make this part. Pillsbury hooked me up.)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1.2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

1 cup unsulphured molasses or Pennsylvania Dutch Table Syrup
3/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Crumb topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1.2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
whipped cream, for serving

Pastry: combine flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastr blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in the ice water and work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the counter and a rollnig pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough out into a 10-inch circle; to check the size, put the 9-inch pie pan upside down over the dough. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside the pie pan. Press the dough firmly into the bottom and sides so t fits tightly. Trim the excess dough around the rim. Place the pt pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it can prevent spills from burning in the bottom of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium-size mixing bowl, combine the molasses and water; stir in baking soda, eggs and spices.
Crumb topping:
With a pastry blender, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and butter, until it is the texture of coarse crumbs. Take 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture and put it in the bottom of the pie shell, pour in the molasses filling, and scatter the remaining crumbs on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling jiggles slightly and the top is firm. Let cool to room temperature before cutting. Serve with whipped cream.

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