Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet Red Bean Pie for a Comfort Food #SundaySupper

"It tastes like comfort."

Seriously, can description of something you made with heart and soul get any better than that? When I made this rich, sweet custard pie for the volunteers at my local food bank warehouse (Feed the Need in Durham - great people doing amazing work), I wanted only to show my appreciation for the otherwise thankless job they have. There are only a handful of them in the tiny industrial building down the street from my house, and they all work diligently without ever being seen or heard from. They are never recognized by the organization, the city or the people and charities they assist for their selfless behaviour - not that they ask for it, mind you. However, as volunteers helping people achieve security in one of the most basic of needs - good food - I felt someone should say thank you. And rather than wait idly by for "someone" to step forward with the same feelings I had, I did what I always do to express gratitude. I baked.

Of course, when I came to the warehouse with the pie, I didn't leave the hungry out to dry. We had a glut of end-season cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and pepper from the garden that they were more than happy to take off my hands (Feed the Need, being a warehouse-distributor, does take fresh goods as they have the walk-in fridges and freezers to handle them - unlike standard food banks).

This pie is your standard spicy custard-style concoction, akin to a pumpkin pie. However, in place of pureed squash, I used an adapted version of a recipe I found in Crescent Dragonwagon's Bean by Bean Cookbook which used - you guessed it - pureed beans. Unlike the cookbook's version, which uses pinto beans, I cooked up some adzukis I already had on hand. We had lots of potatoes nearing "sprouting" stage, including a sweet potato beginning to soften, so I whipped up a few batches of my lower-fat Potato Pastry Crust. I used a "white potato" version for my larger "main" pie, but since I found myself with some extra filling left over I rolled out the sweet potato dough in a bed of rolled oats (instead of flour) and made some tartlets. Knowing that the tartlets would be kept aside for my pecan pie-loving Mom, I garnished those with a sprinkle of chopped toasted pecans for a bit of flair. Nobody I served it to knew what went into it before they had a bite, and after they found out, they still polished off their slices and asked for the recipe! To me, the satisfaction of a job well done, done for the sake of making someone else's life a little better, is the greatest comfort there is.

When we think of comfort food, it immediately evokes so many memories deep within us. Lee of the blog Food for Thought is our guest this week for a special "Comfort Food" special #SundaySupper!! The theme, I think, is best described on FfT:
To me comfort food is anything that reminds you of home, that feeling of belonging and unconditional love.  To compare food to old shoes seems unfair.  But that really is what comfort food is to be.  It feels like a pair of comfortable shoes.  There is nothing pretentious or fussy.  It fits just right no matter what the occasion. 

Besides, with the cold weather coming, who couldn't use a touch of comfort? Check out the other offerings below:

#SundaySupper Comfort Food |Soups

#SundaySupper Comfort Food  | Main Dish

#SundaySupper Comfort Food | Desserts

Pairing Wine with Sunday Supper Comfort Food Favorites! by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog 

We would be honored to have you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm(Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper  live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite comfort foods! All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.

We’d also love to feature your easy go to recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.

Sweet Red Bean Pie
1/2 recipe Potato Pastry Crust, placed into a 10" or 9" deep dish pie plate (or your favourite pastry recipe)
2 cups cooked adzuki or small red Mexican beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
3 tbsp melted salted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp allspice
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1/3 cup rolled oats (not instant)
chopped pecans, for topping (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F and place the pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Puree the beans, butter, sugar, vanilla, milk and eggs in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Add the allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, tapioca starch and rolled oats and process until smooth and the oats are finely minced. Mixture will be fluid.
  4. Pour into the pie shell.
  5. Sprinkle with pecans, if using.
  6. Place the pie in the oven and bake on the middle rack for 12 minutes.
  7. Reduce the temperature to 350F and move the pie to the lowest rack of the oven.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, covering the pie with foil after 20 minutes if it's browning too much.
  9. When done, the filling will be completely set.
  10. Cool completely to room temperature, then chill overnight before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 226.7
Total Fat: 6.5 g
Cholesterol: 40.9 mg
Sodium: 122.3 mg
Total Carbs: 42.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.8 g
Protein: 6.2 g


  1. Being thanked with a pie is a treat and so it baking it! I have to try the filling, it sounds so interesting!

  2. So kind of you to take this pie to thank people for their efforts. Comfort foods comes in many forms and it is wonderful when you can share it with others.

  3. saying thank you with this delicious pie must have been really appreciated! very unique and delicious flavors!

  4. I'm so fascinated by this pie! Gorgeous!

  5. ondrvesI have never seen a pie made with beans, but I would imagine it gives a nice smooth flavor to the filling since pureed beans are so velvety!

  6. I absolutely love your recipe! I've had black bean brownies that were amazing good, and now I've got to try this. The adzuki beans are perfect for something like this. And what a wonderful way to thank people for all they do. Perfect!

  7. This sounds like my kind of pie. Sounds so homey and satisfying...and unique!

  8. I've never heard of a bean pie-how unique! It looks delicious.

  9. Bean pie? Wow! So thoughtful of you to bake for the food bank volunteers. Love the idea of a sweet potato crust.

  10. Wow, this dish is so unique and amazing. I would love to try this out sometime!

  11. a pie with red beans is not something I would have ever come up with. Looks great though!

  12. Never heard of a pie like that before, amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  13. This is such an interesting recipe! I don't think I've ever had a pie with beans in it - sounds cool!

  14. The award for more unique dish goes to you! I love red beans and I can't wait to try this out!

  15. I love you for being so kind to others. That's so awesome to thank people with pie. And not just any pie. A unique and tasty pie.

  16. this looks great! thanks for sharing. I will have to make it soon.

  17. Wow, I love that you made this pie for those volunteers! So thoughtful! Thanks for sharing this!

  18. It is so sweet that you made this for the volunteers, I am sure it meant a lot to them. I have never heard of making a pie like this with beans but it does sound interesting.

  19. What a great looking recipe and pie! It brings to mind the moon cakes the Chinese serve during the Moon Festival. I'm gonna have to try this!

  20. I love red bean ice cream, this looks so interesting and I'd love to try it out.

  21. You are so thoughtful and kind to bring the workers at the food bank a pie. What a generous gesture.

  22. This is so neat! I've never heard of or seen anything like it!

    Jamie @

  23. Ah healthy & yummy as always ! If I lived closer would be raiding your home :)

  24. I'll bet this is really good--it's surprising how beans work so well in desserts!


Thanks for the feedback!