Arkansas Possum Pie is a creamy, layered chocolate and cream cheese pie in a pecan shortbread crust that is sure to please!
Arkansas Possum Pie
I just had to include this hilariously named Arkansas favorite as part of my American Eats series. Not only is it incredibly popular and found all over the state of Arkansas, but my curiosity was immediately piqued by the name possum pie. As soon as I saw this on a list of popular Arkansas recipes I was simultaneously repulsed and intrigued.
Did it really have possum in it? Do people really eat roadkill in the South?
Truthfully, I was both relieved and a little disappointed to find out that possum pie is NOT a savory meat pie made with actual possum after all, but rather a delicious dessert recipe with a sandy pecan shortbread crust and layers of cream cheese, chocolate pudding, and sweetened whipped cream.
One theory behind the unusual and shocking name is that possum pie is so-named for pretending to be something that it’s not – in this case hiding the chocolate filling underneath a layer of whipped cream. Another theory is that it’s just called possum pie because of it’s similar coloring to the only marsupial in North America.
Possum pie is sometimes called by other names as well, like Chocolate Layer Pie, Chocolate Lush, or Four Layer Delight.
No matter what you call it, it’s a delicious dessert for anybody who loves chocolate cream pies! And really, I think my favorite part might be the pecan shortbread crust that tastes more like a pecan sandies cookie than a pie crust.
There’s an interesting article all about the many places around Arkansas that serve possum pie over on the Arkansas Life blog, in case you are planning a trip there and want to know where to pick up a slice of this pie rather than making it at home.
How to Make Arkansas Possum Pie
Almost every recipe I found for possum pie called for boxed chocolate pudding mixes and Cool Whip topping. So I thought I would share a version of possum pie that is made from scratch, since homemade tastes so much better and making pudding from scratch really isn’t hard at all!
- Make the easy pie crust by combining flour, butter, chopped pecans, and brown sugar in a bowl, then pressing into a pie plate and baking for 15 minutes.
- Mix cream cheese with powdered sugar and a little heavy cream and spread it into the bottom of the cooled crust.
- Whisk together some sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, then whisk some egg yolks and milk together in a separate bowl and add it to the saucepan.
- Cook the chocolate pudding over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes until it starts to bubble and thicken, stirring frequently. Then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cool before adding it on top of the cream cheese layer.
- Chill for 4 hours until set, then spread sweetened whipped cream over the top and sprinkle with a few chopped pecans and shaved chocolate, if desired.
Pecan Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
Cream Cheese Layer
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- grated chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter, then combine the butter, flour, brown sugar and pecans by stirring with a fork.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, just until the crust begins to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Cream Cheese Filling
- In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and heavy cream using a hand mixer until smooth. Spread over bottom of the cooled pecan pie crust.
- Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, flour, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk well.
- In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and milk and whisk well, then add to the sugar and cocoa powder mixture in the sauce pan, whisking to combine.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until pudding begins to thicken and bubble, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla, stirring just until the butter is melted and combined. Transfer the chocolate pudding to a shallow bowl and cover with a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to help the filling cool down.
- When the filling has mostly cooled down, remove the plastic wrap and stir, then spread over the cream cheese layer. Cover the pie with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 4 hours until set.
Whipped Cream Topping
- Beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla using a hand mixer until whipped cream forms and holds it's shape when betters are removed. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the chocolate pudding layer and sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans and chocolate shavings before slicing and serving.
Adapted from Tie Dye Travels.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519 Saturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 126mg Sodium: 167mg Carbohydrates: 52g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 36g Protein: 6g
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