Friday, December 10, 2010

Pinto Bean Pie

I know, weird right? Strange though it may be this Pinto Bean Pie has been tempting me for months. I'd stumbled upon a few variations in different mother's association cookbooks, even one from Hank's hometown of Breckenridge, TX, and finally decided it was time to give it a try. The recipes I found seemed like they would be overly sweet and needed some adjustment, so I ran with my ideas and came up with this lightly sweetened pinto bean filling, baked it up and used the leftover egg whites to make a simple meringue for the top. I had planned to surprise my folks and have them guess what kind of pie this was, but Hank spilled the beans (ha!) before I had the chance.

Pinto Bean Pie
(printable recipe)

1 unbaked pie crust
2 c cooked pinto beans (if using canned beans drain well)
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
2 tbsp. molasses (optional)*
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks

for the meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. sugar

*the molasses does impart a strong flavor. If you particularly like molasses by all means add it, if not leave it out.

Mash the pinto beans thoroughly with the melted butter. Add the sugar, milk, molasses and spices. Separate the eggs and lightly beat the yolks, add to the bean mixture. Mix well and pour into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. You may need to cover the crust to prevent it from burning.

While the pie is baking make the meringue. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Once the filling has set spoon the meringue on top and brown in the oven.

In doing some research I found that the origins of this pie are a bit hazy. I had assumed it was dreamed up in Texas... where else would a pinto bean be so revered as to make it into a pie? Anyways, I like to think Pinto Bean Pie was a good solution in the old days, when winter reared it's ugly head and fruit was scarce, the dried pinto bean was plentiful. It certainly makes a delicious (and economical!) pie.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! I'd heard of pinto beans in a cake, but never a pie.

    I featured you on Momcaster: