Ever heard of a Bean Pie? Me neither. At least not until I met Rasta Daddy.
My first bite of bean pie was in 2003. I will NEVER forget it. I was hooked before I even finished chewing that first bite.
The bean pie dates to the 1930s, when the founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, told his followers to eschew pork and unhealthy starches like corn bread and sweet potatoes and adhere to a healthful diet, with a particular focus on the navy bean. Muslims created the bean pie in part as a healthier substitute for the sweet potato pie.
Bean pie is considered a cross-cultural creation. Created by members of the Nation and extremely popular with the African-American Muslim community as well as Southerners of all races and walks of life, bean pie took on a life of its own. Professional chefs/bakers as well as your average everyday kitchen novice, began experimenting with different beans (mainly pinto beans and the great northern white bean) as well as crust options ranging from a traditional pie crust to a graham cracker crust to gluten free crusts. Bean pie can now be found at Kwaanza festivals, Black History Month related festivals, Martin Luther King Day festivals, reggae festivals, jazz festivals, and the like.
Today I share with you the bean pie recipe that has become a staple in our home. It is gluten free although you certainly could make it with regular white flour if you choose to. I could seriously eat this pie All. Day. Long.
Gluten Free/ Grain Free Bean Pie
Yield 2 servings
A gluten free/grain free, dairy optional bean pie that will blow your mind!
- 2 cups cooked navy beans
- 1 stick of butter (can sub with palm shortening, ghee, or coconut oil)
- 14 ounces of milk (any milk works but non-dairy milks will change the flavor slightly)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons gluten free baking mix or 3/4 tablespoon coconut flour
- 2 cups raw sugar or 1 cup raw honey (this is an awesome buy on honey)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- If using dry beans, soak the dry beans overnight.
- Cook the beans until soft.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In an electric blender (I use my trusty Blendtec), blend beans, butter, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour about 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Add sugar/honey and vanilla. Mix well.
- Pour into pie shells. (See notes below)
- Bake about one hour until golden brown..
5 minutes after removing pies from oven, cover with plastic wrap that clings. Trust me! This makes the pie super moist and just about perfect. I find that people are rather picky when it comes to pie crusts so honestly, use whatever crust floats your boat. However, the simpler the crust the better in my opinion. A flavorful crust will overpower the understated nature of the bean pie.
If you are looking for a crust recipe, give this basic one a try:
- 2 cups gluten free baking flour mix
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 tablespoons of cold water
- 3/4 cups of butter
- Mix flour and salt in bowl.
- Cut in butter using pastry blender or two knives, until all flour is just blended to form pea-sized chunks.
- Sprinkle water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Toss lightly with fork until dough will form a ball.
- Divide dough into two parts.
- Press between hands to form two 5- to 6-inch patties.
- Set aside one patty.
- With rolling pin, roll out the crust patty between two pieces of unfloured plastic wrap, into a circle the size of an upside-down pie pan.
- Remove top piece of plastic wrap. Use the bottom piece of plastic wrap to lift the crust and turn it into the pie pan.
- While plastic wrap is still covering crust, gently press crust to fit the pan.
- Remove the other pie of plastic wrap. Roll out the other pie crust patty the same way.
*You are certainly welcome to use a ready made pie crust. I sometimes cheat and do that myself when I am short on time!