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Arkansas Possum Pie

close up shot of a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie topped with chocolate shavings on a plate
This Arkansas possum pie features a crunchy pecan crust, creamy cheesecake, and chocolate pudding layers and is topped with whipped cream for a truly decadent dessert.
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Table of Contents
  1. ARKANSAS POSSUM PIE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS ARKANSAS POSSUM PIE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Contrary to the unusual name, there is not any actual possum in Arkansas possum pie! This oddly named Southern recipe features a delicious pecan shortbread crust topped with cream cheese, a delicious layer of chocolate pudding, and creamy whipped cream.

Check out more of our favorite Southern-inspired recipes, including our Ambrosia Salad and Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Casserole.

ARKANSAS POSSUM PIE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

For the 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

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 8 ounces 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 unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into measuring cup, not packed)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1¾ cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Whipped Topping Layer:

  • 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.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS ARKANSAS POSSUM PIE RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8-inch pie pan or 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 completely combined.

PRO TIP:

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

STEP THREE: Evenly press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely.

STEP FOUR: Using a handheld mixer and a medium 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.

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 FIVE: Evenly spread the cheesecake layer mixture on top of the cooled pie crust and set aside.

STEP SIX: In a 2-quart medium 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.

STEP SEVEN: Whisk the milk mixture in the cocoa powder mixture and heat over medium heat, continually whisking. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes or until the chocolate pudding mixture is thick.

STEP EIGHT: Evenly spread the pudding layer over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours while the possum pie sets. 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.

STEP NINE: 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.

HOW TO SERVE

Serve this delicious dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce on top for a truly decadent treat. Add a cold drink such as our sweet peach iced tea to wash it all down.

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.

No possums were harmed making this pie! This popular dessert can be found in places all over the state of Arkansas and is beyond decadent. The crunchy shortbread pecan crust is topped with velvety cream cheese, chocolatey homemade pudding, and fluffy whipped cream, making this a chocolate cream pie lover’s dream.

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

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close up shot of a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie topped with chocolate shavings on a plate

Arkansas Possum Pie

5 from 4 votes
This Arkansas possum pie features a crunchy pecan crust, creamy cheesecake, and chocolate pudding layers and is topped with whipped cream for a truly decadent dessert.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 35 minutes
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 ounces 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 to 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

PRO TIP: To finely chop the pecans, add them to the food processor until they are fine crumbs.
 
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.
 
PRO TIP: Don’t skip the chilling step as you need to give the pie and filling time to set.

Nutrition

Calories: 623kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Pat Greene says

    5 stars
    I made this pie, only had one problem; I found out I should have made two, one wasn’t enough. ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ˜‹ Delishous๐Ÿ˜‹

  2. Montana Cook says

    5 stars
    Funny story–Before we were married, my husband took me to a nice restaurant for a steak and to end a perfect evening, we ordered their signature “Possum Pie” to go with the plans of eating dessert the following night (it was his excuse to see me two nights in a row). Needless to say, The Possum Pie called my name from the refrigerator! What would it hurt if I ate my half and saved his for the next night? That was my justification. But it was sooooo delicious, I ate the whole thing! So I am extremely happy with your recipe to make amends for my transgression. He loves your pie yet for some reason keeps reminding me of that night long ago and the disappearing Possum Pie.

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