Saturday, March 28, 2009

'Impossible Pies' are easy and delicious

3/18/09 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

A few weeks ago I requested some favorite potluck dish recipes from readers. The result was resounding silence! I did not receive one phone call, email or snail mail recipe in response to that plea. That request, however, did initiate lots of culinary conversations in grocery store aisles, at meetings and on street corners about recipes in general.

Today’s column is an outgrowth of one of those conversations with Mary Seal. My husband and I first met Rex and Mary many years ago at a Boots and Sandals square dance and we always seem to have something to talk about — especially food.

One morning this month we met at the donut shop. I had just bought a coconut donut and said that I loved anything coconut. Mary asked if I had ever heard of the “Impossible Coconut Pie.” I had not. “I’ll send you the recipe,” she said.

Every so often there’s a resurgence of the ‘Impossible Pie’ recipes. I have read of them dating back to England during World War II when food was severely rationed. I learned to appreciate them in the late 1970s as I looked for ways to feed my growing family on a tight food budget.

The ‘Impossible Pie’ is so named because the pie does the impossible by making its own crust. The ingredients are inexpensive, tasty, quick to assemble and even the fussiest kid will usually eat them.

The basis for all of the ‘Impossible’ recipes is very similar. My original main dish recipes call for combining milk, eggs and Bisquick (or any baking mix) together in a blender.  After your other ingredients are placed in the baking or pie pan, you pour the batter over the mixture. The ingredients rise to the top and the batter makes a soft crust.

Until Mary’s recipe arrived, I was most familiar with the hearty main dish recipes that called for ground beef. I have recipes for several ‘Impossible’ pies: Bacon Pie (think quiche), Cheeseburger Pie, Lasagna Pie and Taco Pie that I’ll share another time.

Mary’s Impossible Coconut Pie recipe tastes like an incredibly yummy pastry. You mix all the ingredients together, pour them in the pan and bake. The batter rises as it bakes and the top gets a little crispy. Out of the oven the pie sinks slightly as it cools.

It’s a flexible recipe as I discovered when I reduced the amount of sugar and added pineapple with some chopped pecans to make a tropical variation. The recipe calls for nearly 2 cups of sugar so if you’re a diabetic I’ve added a low sugar version. And if fat or cholesterol is a concern try using two egg whites for each egg.

Now, a word of warning: fresh is best! Impossible pies are best made just before serving. They will keep for several days in the refrigerator but do not freeze well.

Finally, do not expect this to taste like a regular pastry-style piecrust with filling and topping. The texture is a cross between a custard pie and sponge cake. It’s best served slightly warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Following are three variations on the Impossible Coconut Pie plus one for a sour cream-apple variation. Enjoy!

Mary’s Impossible Coconut Pie
(Serves 8)

4 eggs, beaten
¼ cup butter
2 cups milk
1-3/4 cups sugar
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix all of the above together and pour into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake about 45 min.

Betty’s Impossible Tropical Coconut Pie
(Serves 8)

4 eggs beaten
¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup milk (or cream of coconut milk)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons rum extract
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
¾ cup coconut
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Mix the eggs, butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder together in mixer. Add pineapple and coconut. Pour into lightly greased 10-inch pie pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake about 50 min. Crust may crack but it will still be delicious.

Note: If you really like coconut, sprinkle extra on top before baking.

Diabetic Impossible Coconut Pie Recipe
Serves 8

½ cup baking mix
2 cups milk
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
¾ cup Splenda
¼ cup butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 9-inch pie pan

Stir all ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate. Bake 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sour Cream-Apple Impossible Pie
(Serves 8)

4 cups thinly sliced pared apples
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup half-and-half (or whole milk)
1/2 cup baking mix
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
1 cup dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously grease 10-inch pie plate

Mix apples, raisins, sugar and 1 teaspoons cinnamon, turn into plate. Beat remaining ingredients (except cinnamon and sugar topping) until smooth — 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour over apple mixture. Combine sugar and cinnamon topping. Sprinkle over pie. Bake until apples are tender and knife inserted in center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Serve warm.

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal!
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes 
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare.

1 comment:

cc said...

Hello! I lived in Cottage Grove several years ago. I found your blog when I was looking for "impossible coconut pie". I'll be watching for more of you.
thanks, Charlotte, now from Pendleton Oregon - go see
I manage a lodge here and cook for the breakfast room.