Hey it’s me and I’m cooking Portuguese food again! YEAH! If you’re reading this and you don’t know why the hell I’m cooking Portuguese food, I’ll tell you! Because I’m Portuguese and since I’m not in Portugal I can’t really buy ready made stuff now, can I? Well that wouldn’t make a blog post either, so kinda beats the purpose anyway.
And you did read the title right, I am baking Sweet Bean Pies, one of my favorite Portuguese traditional pastries. And now you would be like BEAN PIES? BEAN? REALLY? Yes, yes, white bean fucking pies! THEY’RE GREAT!! Ok, I’m getting too excited about this. Anyway, it’s not just about me loving these sweet pies, I also realized they are pretty uniquely Portuguese and not a lot of countries, other then Brazil, know about these treats. I have cooked them a bunch of times before, and every time I give them to non-Portuguese friends, they doubt it at first and then they love it. It’s one of those things, you won’t know until you try it. The crunchy exterior against the sweet squishy interior is a combination straight out of heaven. I swear! With all the powdered sugar it takes, it’s surprisingly not that sweet at the end. So let’s get to the baking. Just give it a try, I promise you will love it!
Here’s what you’ll need (makes 24):
For the base (Shortcrust pastry):
- 250 g of all-purpose flour
- 125 g of unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp of water
- 1 tsp of salt
For the filling:
- 100 g of boiled white beans
- 25 g of peeled almonds
- 6 eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- 500 g of caster sugar
- 1 cup of water
- flour and powdered sugar to sprinkle
And here’s how you do it:
1) Preheat the oven to 250 C/ 480 F and let’s start with the base. On a bowl put the flour and add the butter in cubes. Using your fingers in a pinching motion, mix the butter and the flour until you obtain a pale yellow sand texture.
2) In the middle of the mixture, make a little hole and add the egg, the water and the salt. I usually mix this with a fork, until I get a hard enough consistency to knead with my hands. Don’t overmix it, just do it enough until you get an homogeneous dough and form a ball.
3) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough is cooling we can start with the filling.
4) In a food processor, or using a hand blender, reduce the beans and the almonds to a thick pure. Pass this puree to a bowl, and add the eggs and eggs yolks and with an electric mixer, mix until it’s homogeneous. Don’t worry it’s a very liquid mix.
5) Put the sugar in a small pan and add water until you cover the sugar. Turn on medium heat until it’s bubbling. Boil until the solution is thick enough that when you drop it from a spoon, it drops in a 2 inch / 5cm thick thread. This is called the Blow or souffle stage of boiling sugar, if you are lucky enough to have a candy thermometer, wait until the mix is around 115 C /230 F .
6) Add the syrup to the bean mix, and stir until combined. Leave to cool, and while it’s cooling we can go take the pie base from the fridge.
7) On a flat surface spread some plastic wrap and put the dough on top of it. This spet is usefull to roll out the dough on top of the wrap, so it doesn’t stick to the table and you don’t have to use that much flour.
8) Dust some flour on top of the dough, and using a rolling pit, roll the dough until it’s around 1 cm/0.5 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or the top of a cup, around 6 cm / 2.5 inch diameter, cut cirles into the dough, until you make 24. You will probably have to reroll the dough out a couple of times until you get the 24 circles, so don’t use so much flower on each turn, otherwise it will get super dry and hard.
9) In an nonstick muffin tin, or a muffin tin that was buttered and flowered, put the dough circles into each muffin slot, and with your fingers, adjust the shape until the dough covers it.
10) Now that the bean mix has cooled down, fill each little pie with this mix. On top of each dust a bit of flour and a bit of powdered sugar. Bake in the oven for 25 min. Check them around 10 min into baking, if all the flour-sugar mix is gone from the top, you need to dust a bit more on top.
11) Take them out of the tin, dust a bit more sugar on top of them (odds are that the sugar they already had on top fell down while you were trying to take them out of the tin) and voila!! Enjoy! 🙂
So I know it seams like a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s really not that much. For the 24 pies it took me around 1h45m to make, and that’s just because my hand blender was not working properly, and I had to go buy flour in the middle of baking because I didn’t know I didn’t have more. So, it’s quite easy really. If you have any doubt about the sugar stages and or any other step above let me know in the comments below I’ll answer gladly.
Do try them they are so delicious ! If you end up being an expat in another country you know that baking treats from your country usually does the trick when you are feeling down, so there you go. Either if you are feeling down or just experimental get to the bakin’!
Let me know if you liked it below!