Preheat oven to 450°F
Mix together the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, and spices. Cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly.
Combine molasses with baking soda and stir until it’s a light taffy color. Add the applesauce and stir to combine. Add the boiling water. Add carefully as this may foam up.
Spread 1/3 of the crumb mixture in the bottom of the pie shell. Gently pour over about half of the liquid mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the crumb and remainder of the liquid. Top with remaining crumbs.
Bake at 450&jdeg;F for 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 20 minutes or until firm. Cool before slicing.
If you don’t need to avoid wheat/gluten, use all-purpose flour.