Arkansas Possum Pie

 

a close up shot of a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie on a plate
Arkansas possum pie is a chocolate dessert with a unique name. This pie features a pecan crust topped with creamy cheesecake, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream.
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Table of Contents
  1. Arkansas Possum Pie Ingredients
  2. Substitutions and Additions
  3. How to Make This Arkansas Possum Pie Recipe
  4. How to Serve
  5. Storage
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. More Recipes You’ll Love
  8. JUMP TO RECIPE

Arkansas possum pie is a creamy, layered southern pie. Perfect for any occasion this pie features a buttery pecan crust topped with creamy cheesecake, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream. Despite the unusual name, this luscious dessert pie will quickly become a family favorite. 

If you love classic southern pies you will also want to make Custard Pie, Banana Pudding Pie, and Key Lime Pie

a close up shot of a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie on baking dish

Arkansas Possum Pie Ingredients

Arkansas Possum Pie raw ingredients that are labeled

You will need:

Pie Crust

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 1 – 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla flavoring

Chocolate Pudding Layer

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (spooned into measuring cup, not packed)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1¾ cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Whipped Topping

  • 8-ounce tub whipped topping
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Substitutions and Additions

COOL WHIP: If you prefer to make your own whipped cream for the top layer, you can. Check out our recipe for homemade whipped cream for directions. 

CRUST: If you prefer a nut-free crust, you could substitute it with a graham cracker crust

CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Mix chocolate chips into your pudding layer for a yummy sweet crunch.

How to Make This Arkansas Possum Pie Recipe

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly spray an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

STEP TWO: In a small mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, finely chopped pecans, melted butter, light brown sugar, and salt. Using a wooden spoon or fork, stir the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Evenly press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely.

PRO TIP: To finely chop the pecans, add them to the food processor until they are fine crumbs.

crust pressed into a pan and baked

STEP THREE: Using a handheld mixer and a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and clear vanilla. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the cream cheese mixture is smooth.

powdered sugar, vanilla and cream cheese blended together in a bowl

PRO TIP: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that you don’t end up with lumps in the cream cheese filling.

STEP FOUR: Evenly spread the mixture on top of the cooled pie crust and set aside.

cheesecake layer spread over the crust in a baking dish

STEP FIVE: In a 2-quart saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. (Do not turn the heat on yet) In a small bowl, whisk the milk and the egg yolks. Whisk the milk mixture into the cocoa powder mixture and heat over medium to medium-high heat, continually whisking. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chocolate pudding mixture is thick.

milk and cocoa mixture whisked together in a pan

STEP SIX: Evenly spread the pudding layer over the cheesecake layer. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. You may also chill the pie overnight.

PRO TIP: Don’t skip the chilling step as you need to give the pie and filling time to set.

pudding layer spread over the cheesecake later in a baking dish

STEP SEVEN: Just before serving, remove the pie from the refrigerator and top with the whipped topping. If you wish to make your own chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler and a chocolate bar. Hold the chocolate bar steady and, with even motions, gently scrape down the sides of the chocolate bar. You may also use store-bought chocolate shavings.

whipped topping spread over the pudding layer and shaved chocolate if desired in a baking dish

How to Serve

This refreshing pie would be a delightful dessert to serve for company or at a summer barbecue. Serve this yummy pie cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce on top. Enjoy it with a vanilla latte or a cold glass of southern strawberry sweet tea. 

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Any leftovers can be stored covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  

IN THE FREEZER: This pie can also be frozen for up to 3 months covered in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container.

a close up shot of a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie on a plate

Arkansas possum pie is a scrumptious dessert for anyone who loves chocolate cream pies. It’s thought that this tasty pie, also called Arkansas pie, gets its clever name because it’s playing possum by looking like a vanilla dessert on the outside but actually hiding chocolate on the inside. This truly decadent dessert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where did the name possum pie come from? 

Some of the theories for this unusually-named dessert include the pie pretending to be something it is not (just like possums) with the chocolate filling hidden beneath the creamy topping or that the colors of the pie resemble the colors of this North American animal. Whatever the reason, it is a delicious dessert!

Can I use a different crust as there is a nut allergy in our family? 

You could substitute a graham cracker crust in place of the pecan shortbread crust if you wish to avoid nuts.

Can I use store-bought pudding instead of making it from scratch? 

You could use a boxed instant pudding in this recipe if you want.

More Recipes You’ll Love

a close up shot of a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie on a plate

Arkansas Possum Pie

Arkansas possum pie is a chocolate dessert with a unique name. This pie features a pecan crust topped with creamy cheesecake, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Pie Crust

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla flavoring

Chocolate Pudding Layer

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder, spooned into measuring cup, not packed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Whipped Topping

  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • Chocolate shavings, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, finely chopped pecans, melted butter, light brown sugar, and salt. Using a wooden spoon or fork, stir the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Evenly press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely.
  • Using a handheld mixer and a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and clear vanilla. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the cream cheese mixture is smooth. Evenly spread the mixture on top of the cooled pie crust and set aside.
  • In a 2-quart saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. (Do not turn the heat on yet) In a small bowl, whisk the milk and the egg yolks. Whisk the milk mixture in the cocoa powder mixture and heat over medium to medium-high heat, continually whisking. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chocolate pudding mixture is thick.
  • Evenly spread the pudding layer over the cheesecake layer. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. You may also chill the pie overnight.
  • Just before serving, remove the pie from the refrigerator and top with the whipped topping. If you wish to make your own chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler and a chocolate bar. Hold the chocolate bar steady and, with even motions, gently scrape down the sides of the chocolate bar. You may also use store-bought chocolate shavings.

Notes

  • To finely chop the pecans, add them to the food processor until they are fine crumbs.
  • Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that you don’t end up with lumps in the cream cheese filling.
  • Don’t skip the chilling step as you need to give the pie and filling time to set.

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