My friend Malcolm Azania is an activist, educator, and novelist. But he’s started a new project that I find pretty interesting on a culinary as well as cultural level: he is now making pies, bean pies in particular, as Desserts of Kush.
Bean pies have an apocryphal history, with origins possibly in North Africa, or the Middle East, or New York. Who knows? But the sweet treat has been appropriated by Muslim African American communities as the go-to dessert. You can see a short video on bean pies here.
Malcolm’s bean pies comes in two varieties: Dream Girl (the classic bean pie) and the Brotherman (the chocolate version). I had to try both, and he hand-delivered a couple to my house the other day. “You have to eat them with vanilla ice cream,” he said. Who could argue with that? So, we ran out for a tub of Haagen Dazs and dug in.
The Dream Girl is a smooth, starchy, sweet, and lightly spicy pie (cloves?). It’s like a denser pumpkin pie. And the Brotherman has a hint of chocolate on top of that. Japanese sweets are overwhelmingly bean-based, so it’s a familiar flavour, but the texture is so much smoother. The beans aren’t mashed, they’re whipped in a blender, so you don’t get that beany skin stuff. It’s very nice!
This is his first run of pies, a market test kind of thing. He’s looking to get them into a restaurant and/or a farmer’s market. At the moment, the only way to get one is to email him directly. I hope he does well with them, because they are very tasty. You won’t get anything like it, unless you travel south!