Mission: Impossible


What is Impossible Pie, and why is it impossible? "The reason it is impossible is because all the ingredients look a complete mess - sloppy and liquid - when they are mixed together and poured into the tin," writes Sue Lawrence in her dazzling new book On Baking (Kyle Cathie £18.99).

Ms Lawrence goes on: "After around 50 minutes baking time, however, a miracle takes place - the pie divides into 3 layers ... a thin pastry like crust, creamy custard middle and a crunchy coconut sponge topping. There is surely no more versatile - or mysterious - pie around, she concludes.

Sounds' too good to be true, doesn't it. Glop transformed into a smart pie, without any work.

Reader, the impossible works. It takes no time at all, and it produces a scrummy pie, something as temptingly delicious as all the other recipes in Sue Lawrence's book.

Impossible Coconut Pie

4 eggs

170g/6oz caster sugar

57g/2oz butter, softened

85g/3oz plain flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

426ml/3/4 pint milk

113g/4oz desiccated coconut

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (I omitted this, and used a vanilla sugar for the caster)

Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then beat or whisk together until everything is really well combined.

Pour into a deep, greased 25cm/10 inch pie dish. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, or until it is puffed up and a crunchy golden brown.

Allow to cool for at least 5-10 minutes (during which time the pie will deflate slightly), then cut into wedges and serve warm or cold.