Adapted from Mrs. A. Wolf from The Third Presbyterian Cook Book and Household Directory and The Ladies Aid Society of Sunbury, Pennsylvania
(The original recipes admonish the baker, “Do not stir the two parts together.” Duly noted.)
One recipe Flaky Pie Pastry; you will only use one half of the pastry dough- wrap and freeze the other half for another use.
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold, unsalted butter cut into ¼” pieces
¼ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, frozen and cut into ¼” pieces
½ cup ice cold water + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (you may need an additional tablespoon of ice water)
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, place the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Now add the shortening and pulse two or three times. Transfer the mixture from the bowl of the food processor (be careful with the blade!) to a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the ice cold water and vinegar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, using your fingers or a fork or a bench scraper to distribute the liquid throughout the flour/butter/shortening. The dough should just come together. If it feels dry, add one additional tablespoon of ice cold water. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half and shape it into two discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; freeze one for later use. Place the other one in the refrigerator and let it rest several hours, preferably overnight.
Roll the pie pastry out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a circle about 12” in diameter and ⅛” thick. Carefully transfer the pie pastry to a 9” x 1½” pie plate, (don’t use a shallower plate or the filling will run over). Fold the edges under and crimp decoratively. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pie crust with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using oven mitts, carefully remove the parchment paper and beans. Return the pie shell to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, just until golden. Let cool while you prepare the filling.
Part I (also known as the Bottom Layer)-
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup molasses (do not use blackstrap molasses; it adds a bitter taste)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ cup cold water
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the egg, then gradually add the molasses, lemon juice, zest and cold water until smooth. Set aside while you prepare Part II.
Part II (also known as the Top Layer)-
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, room temperature
1¼ all-purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking soda (Mrs. Wolf recommends Arm & Hammer brand)
½ cup ‘thick milk’ or buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In the bowl of standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, beating until light. Add the vanilla and egg, mixing until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk, until combined.
Place the cooled pie shell on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour Part I (the Bottom Layer) over the pie shell. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, place dollops of Part II (the Top Layer) over the molasses filling. Do not smooth the top layer over the bottom; it will even out as it bakes. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the pie for an additional 35-40 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for several hours before serving. Garnish with crystallized ginger whipped cream.
Crystallized Ginger Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons crystallized (candied) ginger, finely diced
When ready to serve, beat heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and whisk just to combine; do not over beat. Fold in the crystallized ginger. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.