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  • Writer's picturedeborahreinhardt

A simple dessert for National Pie Day

You can bake this delicious Impossibly Easy Buttermilk Pie in less than an hour.

A custard-like pie on a colorful plate with napkin and fork
The crust in Impossibly Easy Pie is created as it bakes.

Pie makes everything better.

Just type “pie quotes” in a Google search and you’ll see a myriad of memes to that effect. I think pie’s ability to make us feel better could be rooted somewhere in science, probably something with sugar and seratonin. Maybe it’s as simple as a connection to a memory you have.

One of my favorite movies, Julie & Julia (2009), has a scene with Amy Adams‘ character (Julie Powell) at the stove. She’s had a lousy day at the office and she’s whipping together a chocolate cream pie. While smoothing the mixture in her pie pan, she explains to her husband that she finds comfort knowing chocolate, cream, eggs, and sugar will make something wonderful. Today, I find myself saying, “Girl, you know that’s right” as I wait for my vanilla and buttermilk custard pie to come out of the oven. Sometimes, the world just gets a little heavy and a slice of pie with a cup of coffee is in order, you know?

But for many, myself included—especially when meringue is involved—pie can scare off a home cook. There’s always the pressure of a perfectly flaky crust (or the scowl from your mother-in-law if you tell her it’s store bought) lurking just behind the flour in your pantry.

Friends, let’s look to the past for the answer to this problem. Pull out your mom’s Bisquick Impossible Pie recipe and let's get baking. It’s so easy, a child could make it, yet so completely comforting and versatile that it will satisfy just about anybody's pie craving. Stick with vanilla or add other flavors like chocolate or pumpkin. Go savory for dinner or brunch.

Curious about the history of this tasty classic, I reached out to the media office at General Mills. To my surprise, the recipe doesn’t reach as far back as I’d thought. The first Impossible Pie recipe was published in 1978, with the first Buttermilk Impossible Pie following in 1982. Bisquick users immediately loved the recipe—now referred to as Impossibly Easy Pie—and were hungry for more flavors like chocolate, pumpkin, and fruit. The appeal, for those not familiar, is these are “pies that magically bake their own crusts,” as stated in the cookbook, Betty Crocker Impossibly Easy Pies (2004).

I remember the Impossibly Easy Coconut Pie that Mom or Grandma would sometimes make, but then, Grandma always knew how to make wonderful pies. I have her pie crust recipe, but though I try, it doesn’t seem to turn out as well as she made it. I may give it another shot in honor of National Pie Day on Jan. 23. Thankfully, the American Pie Council offers these tips for making a good pie:

• Cold ingredients and utensils are essential when making the crust.

• Don’t overwork the dough.

• Bake pie in the lower third of your oven to avoid a soggy bottom crust.

Although pie making dates to ancient Romans, the first fruit pies surfaced in the 1500s in England. American Colonists used pie crusts as a vessel—called a “coffyn”—in which a savory filling was cooked. The dough wasn't meant to eat.

You know, that Impossibly Easy Pie looks better all the time. Why not make one for your family and one to take to a neighbor or a friend to brighten their day?

A friend gifted me with spiced Madagascar vanilla extract from the KC Vanilla Company so I used that in this recipe. They also have pure vanilla extract and sell vanilla beans. Check out this artisan vanilla made in Kansas City, Missouri, then cut yourself a piece of pie and put your feet up.


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