For more than 20 years, Billy Saint of Scottsboro has been perfecting and sharing a very unusual kitchen specialty with the local community – pinto bean pie.
He started out with a recipe from a friend, and with a few modifications, he has turned it into a quick dessert that he said is perfect for sharing.
“The recipe my friend gave me had more sugar in it than I use,” he said. “It was too sweet for me, so I cut the sugar down to half and that made it a lot better.”
Each year around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Saint makes his pies and delivers them to places like the Jackson County Senior Center, Goodwill and anywhere else where folks need a little cheering up.
“I like to give something back to the community,” he said. “People don’t expect to see a man who loves to cook, but I’ve made about 3,000 pies over the years, and I enjoy seeing people smile when I take them a pie.
“I’ve become known around town as ‘the pinto bean man,’” he said.
The pies, despite their unusual main ingredient, resemble pecan pies in taste and appearance.
“Believe it or not,” he said, “it’s really good and you’d never know it is made with pinto beans unless someone told you.
“They are very easy to make,” he continued. “It just takes a few minutes to mix the ingredients and then they bake for about 45 minutes and you’re ready to go.”
Pinto Bean Pie (yields two pies)
2 pre-made Pie crusts
1 can Luck’s Pinto beans
2 tsps. Vanilla flavorin
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1 ½ cups sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash pinto beans well and divide into two separate mixing bowls. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 eggs, ¾ stick of butter, ¾ cup shredded coconut and ¾ cup sugar to each and mix well with fork. Pour mixture into pie shells and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.