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They Said It Couldn't Be Done, but Here It Is. . . : Pie fillings: Once it was discovered that the Impossible Pie was possible, many variations were eventually done.

August 09, 1990

Following publication in The Times Food section of a recipe for Impossible Lemon Pie, we received a letter asking if there was a misprint or ingredient omitted. The reader said the pie never cooked solid enough to cut and had to be spooned for serving. We retested the recipe and although the filling was slightly soft, after refrigerating, it was possible to cut and serve.

At the same time, we contacted General Mills Inc., manufacturers of the buttermilk baking mix that's an ingredient in all impossible pies. While they cannot claim to have created the original version of the recipe, the Betty Crocker Kitchens have developed many variations.

According to their files, the recipe gained popularity in the mid-1960s and was passed along by word-of-mouth and through newspaper recipe exchanges. The first impossible pie was the Impossible Coconut Pie, a custard-type pie, followed closely by main dish adaptations. The ease of making this pie seemed to catch on quickly with consumers.

The many different pies varied both in preparation instructions and in firmness of the fillings. The Impossible Lemon Pie recipe repeated today has more lemon flavor, but is less firm than the lemon variation of the Impossible Coconut Pie. Also included are some other old favorites of these unique pies that form their own crusts.

IMPOSSIBLE LEMON PIE

1 cup milk

Sugar

3/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/2 cup buttermilk baking mix

4 eggs

1/4 cup butter or margarine, diced

Whipped cream, optional

Place milk, 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, buttermilk baking mix, eggs and butter in blender or food processor. Blend 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour batter into buttered 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until center of pie is set. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sugar over top of baked pie. Place under broiler until lightly browned.

Cool and serve with whipped cream. Makes 1 (10-inch) pie.

IMPOSSIBLE COCONUT PIE

2 cups milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk baking mix

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup flaked or shredded coconut

Place milk, sugar, buttermilk baking mix, butter, eggs, vanilla and coconut in blender container. Cover and blend on high speed 15 seconds. Pour into lightly greased 9- or 10-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350 degrees 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 1 (9- or 10-inch) pie.

Variation: For Impossible Lemon Pie, add 1/4 cup lemon juice. Use 10-inch pie plate.

IMPOSSIBLE PEANUT BUTTER-CHOCOLATE PIE

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup buttermilk baking mix

2 eggs

1 cup whipping cream

2/3 cup chunky peanut butter

1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces

Chopped peanuts, optional

Place brown sugar, buttermilk baking mix, eggs, whipping cream and peanut butter in large bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy, 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350 degrees 35 minutes or until puffed and dry in center and knife inserted near center comes out clean. Heat chocolate pieces in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Spread over pie. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Refrigerate pie until chocolate is firm, about 1 hour. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie.

Note: Do not use blender to combine ingredients.

IMPOSSIBLE PINA COLADA PIE

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup rum

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

4 eggs

1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, well drained

2 cups flaked coconut

1/2 cup buttermilk baking mix

Sliced pineapple, optional

Whipped cream, optional

Combine milk, rum, butter, eggs, cream of coconut, crushed pineapple, 1 cup coconut and buttermilk baking mix in blender container or bowl. Blend on high speed 30 seconds or 1 minute with hand beater.

Pour into greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Garnish with sliced pineapple and whipped cream. Makes 1 (10-inch) pie.

Note: 2 teaspoons rum extract plus 2 tablespoons milk may be substituted for rum.

IMPOSSIBLE FETTUCCINE ALFREDO PIE

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup buttermilk baking mix

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Dash ground nutmeg

Place eggs, milk, whipping cream, buttermilk baking mix, Parmesan cheese, pepper and nutmeg in blender container. Blend on high 30 seconds, stopping blender to scrape sides if necessary.

Pour into greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 1 (10-inch) pie.

IMPOSSIBLE CHEESEBURGER PIE

1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup buttermilk baking mix

3 eggs

Pickle slices, optional

Catsup, optional

Saute beef and onions in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until beef is brown. Drain. Stir in salt and pepper. Spread beef mixture in lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.

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