Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 4, 2012

Molasses-Crumb Pie

This week, we wanted something sweet, and we had a pie crust in the freezer. So we’re making a molasses pie recipe, originally from 1949.


3/4 Cup Molasses
1/4 Cup Hot Water
1 Egg
Unbaked Pastry Shell
3/4 Cup Dry Crumbs (Bread, Cake or Both)
1/4 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Ginger
1/4 Cup Soft Butter

Combine molasses, hot water and beaten egg, and pour into a 7-inch pie plate lined with pastry. Combine and work together, as you would pastry, the remaining ingredients until butter is thoroughly mixed with the crumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the molasses in the pie plate, and bake in a hot oven (450° F.) until crumbs begin to brown. Then reduce heat to 325° F. and bake 20 minutes longer.

We didn’t have any dry cake crumbs, so we used bread crumbs. (How does cake sit around long enough to dry out? Baffling!)

The molasses and egg mixed together quickly.

The crumb mixture was slightly harder to mix together, since we were trying to get the butter and sugar fair evenly distributed.

Eventually it came together pretty well, and looked like the sort of streusel topping you’d put on a coffee cake. (It didn’t really taste right, though — much less sweet.)

Also, there was quite a lot of crumbs, occupying almost as much volume as the molasses underneath.

Within a minute, the crumbs had started to sink.

So much for the streusel theory.

I was expecting a more syrupy filling, but once the crumbs sank, it turned rather doughy. The consistency reminded me of a brownie, although the flavor was more like a underspiced gingersnap. I don’t really know… I guess it’s an OK way to use up cake crumbs and molasses if you have it sitting around? This just wasn’t very memorable, though, and I don’t expect to ever want to make it again.

Recipe page scanned in from Country Gentlemen 1949, by Look Homeward, Harlot on Flickr.



  1. …um, yeah. Dry cake crumbs? Really? Do they sell those in bags at the store, like Panko crumbs? I tend to be leery of molasses pie, though it seems to be a popular Thanksgiving pie for some – I’ve never tasted it at any potluck-y gathering, and this one doesn’t really encourage me to try …

  2. I’m not a fan, but this looks sort of like a modified Shoo Fly Pie recipe.

    For those not in the know, it’s a German / Amish thing made primarily in PA or the Midwest in areas settled by the Germans in the 1800’s.

    • We used to stop for shoofly pie at Mom’s Dutch Kitchen in Danville, PA while travelling from New England to the midwest. It’s good stuff.

  3. You could have cake crumbs if you had baked a layer cake, then trimmed the tops of the layers so they’re level before frosting them.

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