Moxie shoo fly pie Photo courtesy Ali Waks Adams

Ali Waks Adams, executive chef at The Brunswick Inn, won the Moxie Festival’s recipe contest with this pie about four years ago. She experimented with making Moxie caramel and Moxie ripple ice cream, but neither “punch you in the face with that Moxie flavor the way the pie did,” she said. The pie is a variation on shoo fly pie, a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert she got to know when she lived in Philadelphia. The molasses and Moxie syrup made the filling “not sweet but sweet, which is what’s interesting about Moxie,” she said. The bitters “boost the Moxiness of the Moxie.” The cornmeal crust is her nod to Indian pudding, a traditional New England dessert.

This recipe has several components, but they can be made ahead.

Yields one 9-inch pie 

MOXIE SYRUP:

1 liter Moxie

CRUMB TOPPING:

11/4 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

½ teaspoon Maldon salt flakes

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cubed

PIE FILLING:

½ cup Moxie Syrup, plus more for drizzling

½ cup molasses

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Angostura bitters

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 recipe Cornmeal-Lard Pie Crust, rolled out and fluted

Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

To make the Moxie syrup, pour the Moxie into a large heavy-bottom sauce pan over medium high heat. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally until it becomes a thick syrup and coats the back of a spoon. You will have a bit more than you need for this recipe (Adams recommends pouring the extra over ice cream, using it in a milkshake, putting it in a cocktail, or brushing it on meat like you would a barbecue sauce). Set aside ½ cup of syrup for the pie filling. The syrup can be made a few days ahead and stored in the refrigerator; bring it back to room temperature before using it.

To make the crumb topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and spices. Work in the butter with your fingers until thoroughly combined. The crumb topping can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until needed.

To make the pie filling, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk together the Moxie syrup, molasses, water, baking soda, bitters and cloves. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Top evenly with the Crumb Topping. Bake for 15 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the pie another 20 minutes. When the pie is done, it will jiggle slightly, but not slosh about.

Cool for 20-30 minutes, or “until you can’t stand it anymore and have to eat it,” Adams says. Moxie Shoo Fly Pie is nicest when warm, though also nice when cold, or room temperature.

Serve with unsweetened whipped cream and drizzle with the remaining Moxie syrup.

CORNMEAL PIE CRUST

Recipe from Ali Waks Adams, executive chef at The Brunswick Inn. If you put the food processor blade in the freezer for an hour or two ahead of time, it’ll help to keep the butter and lard from melting while you are making the dough.

Yields 1 single-crust 9-inch pie shell

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup coarse ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup chilled leaf lard, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

¼ cup chilled butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

¼ cup ice water

Whir the flour, cornmeal and salt in the bowl of food processor to combine. Add the lard and butter. Pulse about 10 times, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal – it’s OK if a few lumps remain. With the processor running, slowly pour in the ice water, stopping when the dough starts to form a cohesive mass; you may not need all the water.

Dump the dough out of the processor bowl onto a sheet of plastic. Form it into a disk and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/4-inch thick. Lay gently in a deep-dish 9-inch pie pan and flute the edges decoratively. The pie crust can be made and shaped at least 1 day ahead. If made 2-3 days ahead, store it in the freezer.

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