Monday, February 6, 2017

THE CHAMP'S FAVORITE : LANA'S BEAN PIE

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing." - Muhammad Ali

via The Washington Post ph: deb lindsey

Bean pie is not so easy to find these days but when Muhammad Ali was still boxing it was on his training camp table. Not only was it one of his favorites, but bean pie was also an iconic food of black Muslims. This classic pie is packed full of protein as its main ingredient is navy beans. Sound weird? Maybe not. The texture of the filling is up to you, mash the beans for a chunky consistency, or puree them in a food processor for a smoother taste. 

The late Lana Shabazz, operator of a renowned New York City bakery was probably the Nation of Islam's most famous bean pie maker. The following bean pie recipe is via The Washington Post and adapted from her cookbook, "Cooking for the Champ: Muhammad Ali's Favorite Recipes," (Jones-McMillon, 1979.) You'll need two 9-inch deep-dish pie plates. 

Lana's Bean Pie
Crust:
About 2 1/4 c (9 1/2 ounces) whole-wheat flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp corn or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
3 Tbsp ice-cold water, more as needed
1 large egg, beaten

Filling: 
3 c sugar
16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp cornstarch
5 large eggs, beaten
3 c cooked, no-salt added navy beans (drained & rinsed if canned)
2 c evaporated milk
5 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
1 tsp lemon extract (can substitute 1 Tbsp lemon juice)
  1. For the crusts: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor; add the oil and pulse until it is evenly distributed (the flour will darken a bit). With the motor running, gradually add the water and egg; pulse just until a ball of dough forms, adding water by the tablespoon as needed.
  2. Use a little oil to grease the inside of each pie plate. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto it; divide it into two equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll out to a round that’s about 11 inches across, then transfer to a pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edges. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
  3. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  4. For the filling: Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Stop to add the cinnamon and cornstarch; beat on low speed just until incorporated. On low speed, gradually add the eggs; once they are all incorporated, stop to scrape down the bowl.
  5. Mash or puree the beans (in a food processor) with 1 cup of the milk in a separate bowl, then add to the mixing bowl; beat on low speed until well incorporated, then add the remaining cup of milk, the food coloring, if using, and the lemon extract, beating until well blended. The filling mixture might look slightly curdled; that is okay.
  6. Divide the filling evenly between the dough-lined pie plates, smoothing each filling surface. Tuck under and crimp the dough around the edges. Bake (middle rack) for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees; bake for about 1 hour or until the filling is just set and the top and edges of the crust are nicely browned. Transfer the pies to wire racks to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving; cool completely before storing.

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