The crumble topping of this classic dessert has been spiked with the warming flavors of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
Brer Rabbit Full Flavor brand molasses is widely available in Pennsylvania Dutch country but not so easily found in some other areas. Plantation Blackstrap Molasses may be substituted.
Makes: 8 servings (Makes one 9-inch pie)
Make ahead: The pie dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. You’ll have some scraps left over; they can be rolled out, dusted with cinnamon sugar and baked for a snack. Adapted from a recipe in the “Mennonite Community Cookbook: Favorite Family Recipes,” by Mary Emma Showalter (Herald Press, 1992).
2 1/4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
For filling and topping
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup just-boiled water
1 cup dark molasses, such as Brer Rabbit Full Flavor brand or Plantation Blackstrap (see headnote)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Have a 9-inch pie plate at hand.
For the crust: Lightly flour a work surface.
Combine the flour, salt and butter in a food processor (or use a mixing bowl and pastry cutter). Pulse or blend by hand to form a coarse mixture with pea-size crumbs.
Add the water in 1-tablespoon increments to form a dough that comes together in a ball and is not wet. Transfer the ball of dough to the work surface; roll it out to a disk that is 11 inches across and about 1/8-inch thick. Carefully transfer it to the pie plate and fit it in, crimping the edges. Use the tines of a fork to dock the bottom; refrigerate for 1 hour. Reserve/refrigerate any scraps, if desired.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the filling and topping: Whisk the baking soda into a medium bowl with the just-boiled water, then whisk in the molasses and egg.
Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and butter in the food processor (or in a mixing bowl, using a pastry cutter). Pulse/incorporate to form a mixture with pea-size crumbs.
Pour about one-third of the filling into the pie plate lined with dough. Scatter about one-third of the topping over the filling. Pour the remaining filling over the first layer of topping, then scatter the remaining topping so the surface is completely covered. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes; the filling will be slightly jiggly, and some of the topping will still be floury.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. The pie might be a little weepy; that is okay.
Nutrition information per serving: 490 calories, 6 g protein, 79 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 35 g sugar