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Impossible pies- the convenient baked dishes that make their own crusts- were popularized by Bisquick (TM) baking mix. In the early 1980s, the company published the recipes, widely expanding their popularity. The original "Impossible Coconut Pie" and "Impossible Bacon Pie" started as grassroots recipes that consumers shared with each other in the late 60's, quickly increasing to over 100 versions. Below are my favorites evolved from the bacon pie and some of the more interesting dinner combinations.
Substitute healthier ingredients. Substitute a high quality homemade baking mix such as Ellen's Better Buttermilk Baking Mix for the Bisquick. The original Impossible pies were full of eggs, cheese, butter and often meat, so pretty high in cholesterol. To reduce fat and cholesterol, they can be made substituting two egg whites for each egg, using reduced fat cheeses, ricotta or drained cottage cheese or naturally lower fat cheeses such as mozzarella, Parmesan or lower fat queso quesadilla. Precook and drain ground meat. Frozen and crumbled, seasoned to taste, tofu makes a fine ground meat substitute, or you can use ground seitan/ wheat meat, or ground chicken or turkey in place of ground beef. The pies taste great with all these variations.
Fresh is best. Impossible pies are best made just before serving. Not suitable for freezing once baked, they do allow you to prepare freezer packages of the additions/fillings (ground meat, etc) and mix in the liquids and baking mix when you are ready to bake. Baked Impossible pie keeps several days in the refrigerator, so they are handy for totable breakfasts and lunches.
Pan size: a single recipe will fill a 9" or 10" pie plate, or an 11"x7" biscuit pan. A double recipe will fill a 9"x13" pan. A half recipe will fill a 1 quart round or square casserole. If a pan size is specified, it probably works better in that size. Always spray or grease the pan.
The darkest secret, or what Bisquick never told us: If you are making a single recipe and use a blender, you can use self-rising flour in place of the baking mix! In a pinch, even plain flour with a 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder will do.
High altitude hints: Substitute 1/2 flour for the baking mix, to reduce the amount of baking powder. Some recipes increase the amount of baking mix/flour by 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Use a 10" pie plate to get a thinner layer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees instead of 400. If using granulated sugar, reduce sugar by 1/4 to 1/2 cups at altitudes of 3,500-6,500 feet. Baking time is usually increased. Some pies have specific high altitude adjustments, see recipes.
Vegetarian protein additions can be seitan or wheat meat, tofu which has been frozen and baked or grilled in small dice or very thin slices, or any of the commerciall soy burgers. Vegetables can be anything your family likes and you have in the freezer or garden: frenched green beans, corn, carrots, peas, onions. If you use a watery vegetable such as onions or zucchini, be sure to precook, drain well. Cheese can be whatever will go well with the selected veggies. Drained cottage cheese can replace regular cheese or proteins.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Thaw and drain vegetables. Spray one 9" pie plate per 4 servings with nonstick spray, remember that 1 10" pie takes 1 1/4 times the filling of a 9" pie. Mix vegetables, and cheese in pie plate. (If desired, reserve 1/8 cup cheese per pie plate to sprinkle on top for last 5 minutes of baking.) Beat filling ingredients until smooth; 15 seconds on high in blender, or 1 minute on high with an electric beater. Pour into plate(s). Bake 20-55** minutes. Cool 5 minutes on flat surface, not wire rack, to maintain temperature at bottom of pie, then cut. Refrigerate leftovers.
** shortest time for half recipe or very thin pie, longest for thick deep pie.
Microwave directions: You have to test this for the recipe you are trying. Microwaving works great with some and not nearly so well with others. Prepare as directed - except decrease milk to 1 3/4 cups (increase baking mix to 3/4 cup to microwave at high altitudes). Pour into greased microwavable pie plate, 10 by 1 1/2 inches, sprinkle top with paprika before microwaving.
Microwave on medium-high (70 percent) 24-28 minutes (20-24 minutes in high altitudes), rotating plate 1/4 turn every 8 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean (center will be slightly soft). Garnish with tomato and green pepper.
Cover with waxed paper, let stand on flat, heatproof surface 10 minutes (do not use wire rack- too much heat loss). Sprinkle with additional paprika, if desired.
Ellen's Better Buttermilk Baking Mix
Greek spinach feta
southwestern vegetarian black bean
Here are the meat-added ones: A generic main dish pie recipe
bacon breakfast pie - BLT and ham variations
sausage mockmuffin breakfast pie
beef and tomato
Beef Enchilada or Megas
salmon or tuna
crab, asparagus, and hazelnuts
ham and Swiss
chicken pot pie
turkey & stuffing
IMPOSSIBLE VEGETABLE PIE
2 cups (1 pound) chopped fresh broccoli or sliced fresh cauliflower OR
Trim off large leaves of broccoli. Remove tough ends of lower stalks, and wash broccoli thoroughly, cut flowerets and stems into thin slices.
YOGURT VEGGIE PIE: Omit cheese and milk and use only 2 large eggs. Blend 1 cup sour cream or thick yogurt PLUS 1 cup cottage cheese into the baking mix blend.
IMPOSSIBLE SPINACH PIE: Substitute 1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and drained, or 1 pound fresh spinach lightly cooked and chopped for the broccoli. Do not cook frozen spinach first. Omit green pepper. Substitute Swiss cheese for the Cheddar cheese. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Continue as directed - except bake about 30 minutes (35 minutes in high altitudes).
IMPOSSIBLE ASPARAGUS PIE: Substitute 2 cups lightly cooked asparagus pieces for the broccoli.
IMPOSSIBLE GREEK SPINACH-FETA PIE
1/2 cups green onions, sliced
Grease a 9 x 1 1/4 inch pie plate. Cook and stir onions and garlic in butter in a 10 inch skillet until onions are transparent (2-3 minutes). Stir in spinach. Layer spinach mixture and cottage cheese in pie plate, draining well. Beat milk, large eggs, baking mix and lemon juice and pepper until smooth (15 seconds in a blender or 1 minute with hand beater). Pour over spinach/cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle on feta cheese, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until knife inserted comes out clean. Garnish with ripe olives, if desired.
IMPOSSIBLE RATATOUILLE PIE
1 cup chopped zucchini
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease pie plate, 10 x 1 1/2 inches. Cook zucchini, eggplant, tomato, green pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil until crisp-tender. Stir in seasonings. Drain if very moist. Spread in pie plate, sprinkle with cheese. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high speed or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour into pie plate. Bake until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.
IMPOSSIBLE GREEN BEAN PIE
8 oz. green beans, cooked & drained, French cut preferred
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 10 x 1 1/2 inch pie dish. Mix beans, mushrooms, onions, garlic and cheese in pie dish. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute by hand. Pour into pie dish. Bake until knife inserted in center and edge comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serves 6.
IMPOSSIBLE SOUTHWESTERN BLACK BEAN PIE
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 400°. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Layer corn, cilantro, onions and beans in pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese. Stir baking mix, milk, 1/2 cup salsa and the large eggs until blended. Pour into pie plate. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Serve with salsa.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Increase baking mix to 2/3 cup. Bake 40-45 min.
1/6th pie: 230 calories (55 calories from fat), 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 80 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 37 mg carbohydrate (6 g dietary fiber), 13 g protein.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESADILLA PIE
2 cans (4 oz. each) diced green chilies, drained
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease pie plate, 10 x 1 1/2 inches. Sprinkle chilies, cheese and cilantro in plate. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour into plate. Bake until knife inserted between center and edge comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and guacamole if desired. 6 servings.
IMPOSSIBLE ZUCCHINI-TOMATO PIE
2 cups chopped zucchini
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 10 inch quiche dish or pie plate 10 x 1 1/2 inches. Sprinkle zucchini, tomato, onion, and cheese in plate. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high, or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour into plate. Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean - about 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving. 6 servings.