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Monday, March 4, 2013

Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie

I'm continuing to (slowly) slosh my way through a backlog of posts, and this is one that I have been meaning to get up on the blog for months.

Now, I love me some pumpkin, but oddly enough, I've never posted my go-to classic pumpkin pie recipe. And today is still not that day, unfortunately. But instead, I have another variation of pumpkin pie to post -- the "Impossibly Easy" kind.

Why? I'm glad you asked. Necessity. I needed a quick pumpkin pie recipe using the ingredients I already had on hand in my pantry, which did not include pie crust, or butter or shortening, which precluded me from making a from-scratch crust (also working against me was the time factor). But, what I did have on hand was Bisquick.

Ah Bisquick. Can we take a minute to talk about Bisquick? You'd love to? Great!

Bisquick, in a nutshell, is a pre-mixed baking blend that includes flour, a leavening agent, and a fat source. The brandname stuff uses baking powder, hydrogenated oil and salt, but you can actually make your own using one cup of flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of oil or melted butter. And according to Betty Crocker, it can be used in pretty much any baked good from pancakes to sausage balls. I've had both of those, although I haven't tried the myriad of other Bisquick recipes. And they're good...especially the sausage balls. But that's for another day.

Back to the Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie.

The premise is this: impossibly easy because you mix every ingredient together in one bowl, then dump it into a pie plate and bake it. While baking, the Bisquick sinks through the custard and forms a crust (of sorts) on the bottom all on its own, and voila! A pie so easy that it is ridiculous (although I'm not sure about the "impossible"). By the by, this pie used to be called "Impossibly Pie," not "Impossibly Easy Pie" when it was first introduced in 1978. The original flavor was coconut custard, and I'm assuming the name was a reference to the surprising way the Bisquick settles into a crust. I'd love to be able to tell you why Bisquick does this (and I did try to find out) but I could not find a definitive answer. I'm assuming the Bisquick sinks because the flour granules are coated in fat...but don't quote me! Somewhere along the way, "Impossible" was remarketed as "Impossibly Easy," probably to emphasize the, you know, ease of it all. The recipes were expanded to include a number of different sweet and savory pies, including pumpkin.

Now, I have to admit that I didn't follow Betty's custard recipe here. It was enough for me to know that the Bisquick would sink through the custard, so I used my own custard recipe, and just added Bisquick. 

The recipe is just as easy as it sounds: mix,

and bake.

It is hard to see in the pictures, but it really does form a crust, albeit a thin one:

Since my custard was thicker that the original recipe, I toyed with the idea of adding more Bisquick, but I decided against it. I'm not sure if it would all have settled out, and I didn't want to take the chance.

The filling really is the star here, and that's just fine with me, although part of me missed a traditional crust. I don't think this would replace my go-to traditional pumpkin pie recipe (although the custard recipe I modified for this is almost exactly what I use in my go-to recipe). But for what it is -- an easy, quick pumpkin pie with minimal ingredients, it can't be beat!

Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie


  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz) puree pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (low-fat is fine, if you wish)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C bisquick
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice (or cloves, if you prefer)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Grease (cooking spray is fine) a 9" pie plate -- I used glass
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Pour into pie plate
  4. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temp to 350F (without opening oven), and continue to bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, until center is set and dies not jiggle.
  5. Cool on wire rack. 

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