I first heard of Bean Pie while listening to KCRW’s Good Food podcast. Bean pies are a staple of traditional Southern cuisine but not as popular nowadays as many other holiday dishes from that region. There was a surge of interest in beans pies in the 60’s and early 70’s when the Nation of Islam promoted bean pies to their congregations as a healthier alternative to the popular but overly-sweet and nutritionally-lacking holiday desserts we still enjoy today: pecan pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie. But since then, this treat has fallen back into obscurity around much of the nation.
What great timing when just a few days after my first introduction to bean pie I was asked to develop a healthy holiday recipe. I immediately knew what I was going to try: Bean Pie. Cooked and pureed white beans seasoned with warm spices is a great alternative pie filling with a velvety smooth texture and great height. Any variety of white bean can be used, depending what you have on hand and available in your area. Navy Beans, Great Northern Beans and Small White Beans are all excellent candidates for this creamy pie.
Swapping out sugar-enriched pie fillings with well-seasoned cooked beans makes for a delicious pie high in fiber, protein and nutrients. Increase the protein and flavor with a pie crust made with Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. And, don’t feel guilty for having a slice of bean pie for breakfast the next day.
Harvest Sweet Bean Pie
Yield 16 servings
- 2 cups Navy Beans or Small White Beans
- 8 fl oz Evaporated Milk
- 2 oz (1/2 stick) Butter or Non-hydrogenated Margarine, melted
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground Ginger
- ½ tsp ground Allspice
- ¼ tsp ground Nutmeg
- ¾ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- one 9-inch Unbaked Pie Shell*
Rinse and soak beans overnight.
Drain beans and transfer to a deep pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by at least 2-inches. Bring the water to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9-inch pie shell.
Drain any excess water off of beans and place beans in a blender or food processor. Add evaporated milk, melted butter, eggs and spices. Process until smooth and well incorporated.
Transfer bean puree to a large bowl and fold in sugar and vanilla extract. Pour filling into a prepared 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 350°F until set in the center, 50 – 60 minutes.
Let cool then slice and serve with sweetened whipped cream.
*Make this gluten free by using your favorite gluten free pie crust recipe or unbaked gluten free pie shell.