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Monday, September 15, 2014

St. Louis' "Best" Bean Pie, the Dessert That's Good and Good for You

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 7:00 AM

A slice of bean pie. | Stu Spivack

Bean pie is a classic dish in the African American Muslim community. When Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammed set out the group's dietary restrictions in the 1960s, popular items like sweet potatoes were out and the high-protein navy bean was in. It's the main ingredient in bean pie, and Muhammed claimed it could extend your lifespan.

Bean pie especially took hold on the east coast, but you can get them right here in St. Louis -- if you know where to look. Wanting to taste this unusual creation, we decided to seek out the maker of the self-proclaimed best bean pie in St. Louis.

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Jeff McGhee
  • Jeff McGhee

Jeff McGhee

"The recipe was passed down to me by Brother Abdul Azzaam," Brother Jeff X tells us. Bean pie can vary greatly; there's really no set recipe and it's not mass-produced. "There's a Supreme Bean and it comes from Chicago," he says.

Brother Jeff's pie is gold in color and looks similar to that of a sweet potato pie -- but don't be fooled. "My pie is made with navy beans, sugar, butter, wheat flour, vanilla flavoring, food coloring, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and evaporated milk," he says. "My pie is the best bean pie."

It can be topped with fruit or eaten with a couple spoonfuls of ice cream. We chose to pair the warmed slice of pie with some French vanilla ice cream -- what a flavor-filled combination.

We were initially a little uneasy at the proposition of a dessert made of beans, but Brother Jeff's creation made us change our minds almost immediately. Unfortunately they're not as easy to find as, say, gooey butter cake, but get your hands on one if you can.

Brother Jeff X makes his pies available upon request and hopes that sometime in the near future to have his bean pie offered in stores such as Whole Foods, Walgreens and Schnucks.

"I wish everyone [could] experience a dessert that is not only good, but good for you," he says.

To purchase a bean pie from Brother Jeff X, you can call him at 314-315-7833.

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