La What Now?

Since the 1960s, baseball teams and players have been publishing cookbooks. I collect them and try out some of the recipes that major leaguers have shared with their fans over the years. Photos, recipes and comments included.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wet Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie - Nellie Fox (White Sox Old Timer)


1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbls. Crisco or oil

1 cup table molasses
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
1 tsp. soda dissolved in water

Mix flour, brown sugar and shortening to make crumbs.  (Reserve 3/4 cup of crumbs.)  Mix eggs, molasses, soda and boiling water.  Add remaining crumb mixture; mix and pour into 9" pie shell.  Put the reserved 3/4 cup of crumbs on top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Here's another recipe from the "White Sox Old Timers" section of the 1983 Sox Cookbook.  Jacob Nelson "Nellie" Fox played for the White Sox from 1950 to 1963, and any image of him on the field is evocative of Sox baseball in the 50s.  Baggy wool uniform, cheek full of chaw, always ready to turn two.
Fox needs no introduction to any Sox fan.  He was a 15-time All Star, 3-time Gold Glove winner, and 1959 American League MVP as part of a pennant winning Sox team.  He will forever be remembered as part of the infield combo with Luis Aparicio that took the Sox to the 1959 World Series.  His #2 was retired in 1976.
When this cookbook was being compiled, Nellie's wife Joanne submitted three recipes, the first of which is featured here.
Shoo-Fly Pie comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, and is also known in Southern cooking.  Basically, it is molasses pie.  Not much else goes into it.  You will see from the recipe that other than the molasses, the other ingredients are common in most pantries.  This is an old recipe.  If you google it, you'll find the exact same recipe as above posted on countless websites.  It's one of those dishes that has stood the test of time, or resisted it anyway.
The "wet bottom" part of the recipe's name intrigued me.  But it turned out to be very accurate.  After taking the pie out of the oven and letting it cool for an hour, I was eager to see what the wet molasses filling had turned into.  As you can see above, the top half of the filling solidified to a soft, cake-like texture, while the bottom remained moist and jam-like, hence the name.  There's some interesting science going on here.
The taste is, well, molasses.  I don't eat a lot of the stuff, but tried a few fingertips of it while preparing the pie.  The end result tasted much the same.  It's a sweet, syrupy flavor - the whole thing is packed with sugar so no surprise.  A classic American pie.
FINAL SCORE - Super-sweet pies are not for me, but I was glad to try this unique offering.  Appreciate the pie! 

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