Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Shoo-fly Pie

Dan’s birthday dessert request this year was shockingly not a cake (his birthday is the one day a year where I happily make a cake), but instead one of his favorite childhood desserts- a shoo-fly pie. I’d never had the pleasure of trying a shoo-fly pie before, so I was excited (and a bit nervous) to take on the challenge!

shoofly pie 3

Shoo-fly pie is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, and it combines a rich chess-like molasses base with a butter and brown sugar crumb topping. I used black strap molasses which gave the pie an incredible dark color and an anise flavor and served each slice with a heaping dollop of freshly whipped cream. Dan gave it his personal thumbs up and said it tasted like home, which makes this a birthday dessert success story!

shoofly pie 2


Shoo-fly Pie



2 1/2 cups flour

2 sticks cold butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cold water

1 egg



1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup boiling water

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup black strap molasses



1 cup flour

1 stick salted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 pinch of cinnamon


whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


In a food processor* combine flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Pulse until texture resembles cornmeal. Add in water, a few tablespoons at a time. Pulse until a dough ball forms, adding more water as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.


Pour your boiling water over baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Pour molasses into the water and whisk together. Add in egg and vanilla. Set aside. Heat oven to 375F.


In your food processor* combine flour, salted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pulse until just combined. Mix 1/3 of the topping into the molasses filling.


Roll the pie dough out and transfer into pie dish. Pour molasses filling into the dish and top with remaining brown sugar crumble. Brush the crust with whisked egg. Bake for 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and the filling has mostly set (it’s okay if the center jiggles a bit). Cool completely before serving.


Combine whipping cream, sugar, and extract in a bowl. Whip until stiff and serve with room temperature pie. We recommend an as-much-whipped-cream-as-pie approach.


*it is completely acceptable and, depending on your state of mind, preferable to do this by hand. I find it to be incredibly relaxing to cut butter in with my fingers.


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Lovely Internet 1.23.15

1. The State of Food.

2. If we’re being honest, how much do our lives really look like our Pinterest feed? Basically never, I would say. That’s okay, real life is pretty great.

3. The history and context of the banjo in modern Southern culture. (Plus, more Old Timey music from Bonnie Prince Billy if you’re interested).

4. This is perfection. (Thanks Elise!)

5. We’ve been trying to take as many cues from traditional gardening practices as possible in our school garden, where the sandy soil is basically useless without a lot of tlc.

6. The Leslie and Ron Story is one of the best on television.

7. Happy National Pie Day! (thanks Emily for the pie playlist! I’ve been listening to it all day!)

8. Look at these beautiful biscuit cutters!!

9. When he first started brewing in our Baltimore apartment (which unfortunately lacked the ability to regulate temperature), all of Dan’s beers tasted like bananas. Now that he has more control over his fermentation the quality of his beer has improved immensely (it’s really pretty awesome). But, for a bit there at the beginning, I sometimes had to figure out gently how to tell him I wasn’t a fan.

10. One of my favorite pubic radio personalities interviews one of my favorite internet personalities about one of my favorite activities.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Drop Biscuits

Last weekend was Dan’s 30th birthday (!!) and when I asked him how he wanted to celebrate he said that he wanted to spend the weekend making and eating great food with great friends.  We invited down some of our closest friends– Brit and Aaron and Kellie and Corey— for the weekend and we did just that. We cooked and baked and sat around the fire and enjoyed each other’s company. It was an incredible way to spend a birthday weekend.

drop biscuits 5

drop biscuits 6

I asked Dan to come up with the menu for the weekend and his request for Saturday morning breakfast was bacon, egg, and cheese on buttermilk biscuits. I’d been looking for an excuse to add a drop biscuit pan to my cast iron collection, and this was the perfect opportunity.

drop biscuits 4

Drop biscuits are the kissing cousin of traditional buttermilk biscuits. Meant to be simply “dropped” into a pan or onto a baking sheet they aren’t kneaded and folded and are thus a little more crumbly and free form when baked. My drop biscuit recipe calls for a bit more buttermilk and the result is a moist and flavorful biscuit.

drop biscuits 3

Those were the first of many biscuits I made that weekend at the request of my house guests. On Sunday morning we served them with my new favorite honey- Bee in Your Bonnet (I’m especially loving the vanilla bean and hibiscus), sausage that Dan and Aaron made and smoked, cheese, peach jam, and salted butter.

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drop biscuits 8

I spent the weekend being incredibly grateful for two things. I cannot believe my fortune that Dan counts the partners of my closest friends as some of his closest friends. It was so wonderful for me to spend the weekend with Brit and Kellie, and it was even more incredible to watch the men in our lives hang out and bond. I’m also very glad that we’ve finally reached the point in our lives where hanging out at home with our friends, eating biscuits and smoking sausage is something everyone unanimously agrees is the best choice. There is no way I would rather spend my time.

drop biscuits 1

Drop Biscuits
makes 7-8 biscuits

4 cups flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps salt

2 sticks butter

2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400F.

Mix together dry ingredients. Cube butter and work in with your hands, breaking the butter up into small pieces and mixing in with the dry ingredients, until the texture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk.

Use a spoon to drop the dough into a drop biscuit pan or onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

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