My oldest sister is 10 years older than me and I use to love hanging with her. She would take me on adventures around Cleveland, or Chicago when she lived there, and I loved it. One day, while in Cleveland, she took me to Muslim restaurant for lunch, we ordered sandwiches, and she bought me a piece of bean pie. I’d never had it before, but because she said it was good I trusted her. And, she was right! I’ve loved it since then.
What is the origin of the bean pie? Followers of the Nation of Islam sold them to raise funds for the group. The group is still well known for their bean pies, but their numbers and notoriety aren’t as strong as they were when my parents and grandparents were with them. Although many of its original members left the Nation after the death of Elijah Muhammad and became Muslims, the influences of the bean pie are still strong in the African-American Muslim community. If you were to visit most Sunni masjids with a sizable African-American population and some Muslim businesses, more than likely, you’ll find some bean pies for sale or someone there can tell you where to find the pies or who bakes them.
The crust is usually perfectly flaky, but firm and not sloppy, with just the right amount of sweetness and combination of seasonings. Some people eat the bean pies right out of the aluminum pan it came in with no fork necessary. I prefer to slice mine in quarters. You simply peel off the plastic wrap and bend away the thin foil pan it came in to expose the crust to take a bite. If you taste a pie that is made right, the taste is absolutely delicious. If it doesn’t taste that great, don’t blame the pie, rather blame the recipe. There are a lot of them out there and some are vastly different than others. Some may prefer to take it home to heat and eat, although I’m partial to the cold refrigerated pie. As with other foods, higher temperature makes the pie taste different, similar to how room temperature milk is tastes different compared to cold milk right out of the fridge.
With all my baking I had never made a bean pie until Christmas when I made pie for my cousin Derek, I tasted it and I must say I did a good job. MLK weekend I got the chance to make pie for my SisterFriend Michele, and a friend of hers, and she asked for the recipe! So, of course I must oblige. Who am I to deny the power of the bean pie?
If you decided to make the recipe and have questions feel free to contact me! It’s super easy, and yummy too! *NOTE: You need 2 deep crusts for this recipe because it makes enough for 2 pies.
Best Tasting Traditional Bean Pie
2 cups navy beans (cooked according to package instructions or two cans!)
Note: You’ll want to make sure that you have planned ahead to make this pie because you need to pre-soak the beans before you can cook them.
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 14oz. can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla
Cook beans until soft. Preheat oven. to 350º degrees.
In electric blender, blend beans, butter, milk, eggs, nutmeg and flour about 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into pie shells. Bake about one hour until golden brown. Makes 2 or 3 Bean Pies.