Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Bean Pie

In our house this is the time of year when we make a lot of pies. They are a big part of the holidays. We do make pies in the summer sometimes, strawberry, blue berry etc. But Thanks Giving is the big pie holiday. For years in our house the king of holiday pies was always pumpkin and sweet potato pie. Then one day I bought a pie from a man wearing a red bow tie. It was a bean pie. I thought to my self, is this a savory pie? Is it pork and beans pie? The man with the bow tie said they are delicious, I was hungry, I had to believe him. Holy cow was he right. From the first bite I was hooked. I still like pumpkin pie, I really like sweet potato pie but bean pie is the new king of pies in our house. I could sit down and eat a whole 9" myself without even batting an eye, maybe two. 

I love making bean pies and it is not terribly difficult to do yourself.  So if you can not find a local Nation of Islam bean pie supplier on the corner then give it a try your self. If you like pumpkin pie you will love bean pie. 

First buy a frozen pie crust from the grocery store. Then when you get home take the pie crust out of the wrapper and throw it into the trash. Because that is where it belongs. Better yet don't buy a pre-made pie crust make your own because it is not very difficult if you follow these rules. They are, all butter crust,  Cold, Cold and Cold and touch it as little as possible. 

Flawless, Flaked Out, all butter Pie Crust

  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick of butter (frozen)
  • tablespoon of sugar
  • teaspoon of salt

For each single crust pie put a stick of butter into the freezer. Put in two sticks if you are making a pie with crust on top as well. For bean pies it is an open top pie so put in one stick of butter per pie. When the sticks of butter are completely frozen it is time to begin your crust. 

Take a glass of clean water and drop in some ice cubes. Then take a large bowl and put in 2-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, a table spoon of sugar and a tea spoon of salt. 
*Note: This recipe works for all dishes that call for a pie crust. If you are using it for a savory dish; say Beef Wellington for example, then omit the sugar.  

Next take a coarse grater and as quickly as possible grate the frozen butter into the flour, sugar and salt. Remember "cold, cold' cold" the idea is to incorporate the fat intop the flour as quickly as possible so that it does not get warm. You can use one of those pastry mixers but I find that my fingers work best. Pinch and rub the butter and flour between the palms and fingers into it is mixed. It does not have to e perfect and you should see small pieces of butter through te flour. Next add cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time. Mix quickly and fold over with the fingers. It should only take add water a couple or few times. dont add to much water because this will make your dough tough. add just enough so that the buttery flour begins to hold together and form dough. The dough should be speckled with whole pieces of butter. This is what will make your crust flaky. 

For a pies worth of dough into a ball put it in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and put it in the fridge. It needs to sitt in there for about an hour. Don't rush it. This is where the flour will 'drink up' some of the water and sort of reconstitute.After the dough has sat for a while take it out and flour your rolling surface. Roll it out and place it in a greased and floured pie pan ir a cast iron frying pan. (Cast iron frying pans make great pie pans.) Tuck it in and form the edges by pinching or a fork. 

Bean Custard Filling

  • 1 cup cooked navy beans ( you can used canned but the finished product is better if you use dried beans) you can use almost any kind of beans.
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Teaspoon of salt
  • Tablespoon of flour  
It may seem as though there is not enough filling custard. This is because bean pie custard comes out much better if it is a little shallower than a pumpkin pie. I pour mine to about  1" to 1-1/2" thick.
Put all of the above ingredients into a food processor and blend them until smooth.  Pour it into the dough you have ready in the pan and place it into a preheated oven at 400 degrees. This is a high heat so keep an eye on it turning it from time to time if it looks like it is getting to dark in spots. 

Cook it until the crust is getting golden to dark brown and a tooth pick stabbed into the center comes out clean. Don't worry if it gets a little over cooked, it is much more forgiving than pumpkin custard pie that will curdle when over cooked. 

When it comes out of the oven I drizzle it with a little maple syrup so that it drinks it up as it cools and leaves behind a shinny glaze over the top of the filling.

Let it cool a bit before slicing so that it holds together. 

I sure hope you will give bean pie a try. It is one of my favorites!

Have a great Thanks Giving and Ah salamu alaykum!