conversations around our table with Nan's impossible pie


We’d leave after Dad got home from work, 

an over-packed car on a long drive, 

down an endless road to visit Nan & Pop. 

We’d arrive in the dark and stumble into Nan’s kitchen, 

knowing she’d made it for us.

She would always bake impossible pie when we visited  

and serve it with ice-cream and jelly. 

It was the warmest welcome that said “I’m so glad that you’re here”.

As I made it for my family, I thought of her and how much she would have loved my kids. She never got to meet them as she passed away not long after I got married, but she always wished for great grandchildren. When I gave her a book to complete about our family tree she filled in the last page with “ Cindy’s children” and left blank spaces for me to write in their names. She would be proud of them and as I baked the pie I sent out these whispered words, “I did good, Nan. 5 beautiful great-grand kids.”


I used the recipe that I found in Donna Hay’s collection as I don’t have Nan’s recipe. I know this one is slightly different as she never added lemon juice but I liked the freshness it added. It balanced out the sweetness and I guess my taste has changed as I served it with lemon zest, blueberries, and fresh cream. You could use a vanilla yoghurt as well or stick with the orginal ice-cream and jelly. 


  • 1½ cups (375ml) milk

  • ¾ cup (60g) desiccated coconut

  • 50g unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 egg

  • ⅓ cup (50g) plain (all-purpose) flour

  • 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the milk, coconut, butter, vanilla, egg, flour, sugar and lemon juice in a blender, scraping down the sides if necessary, and blend until smooth.

  2. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 18cm (1-litre-capacity) pie dish. Place on a large baking tray and cook for 30-35 minutes or until set. Set aside to cool slightly. Dust with icing sugar to serve. Serves 8.

Cindy CavanaghComment