Recipe courtesy of Melissa Gaman for Food Network Kitchen

Possum Pie

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (plus 6 hr chilling)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
This is called possum pie because it’s not what it appears to be: Just as the animal fools us by playing dead, the pie conceals its true identity with a big pile of whipped cream. Underneath the topping is a layer of rich chocolate, and beneath that, a sweet cream cheese filling. It reigns as Arkansas’s most popular pie.


For the Crust:

For the Filling:

For the Topping:


  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Combine the flour, pecans, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground but not paste-like. Add the butter and egg yolk; pulse until the mixture clumps together. Evenly press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, making a thick rim at the top. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are dry and just set, about 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights (if the crust does not release from the parchment, bake a few more minutes). Return the crust to the oven and bake until the bottom is dry and the edges are lightly browned, about 15 more minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
  3. Make the filling: Put the cream cheese in a bowl and mix with a stiff rubber spatula to loosen. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream until smooth. Evenly spread in the cooled crust.
  4. Whisk the granulated sugar and cornstarch in a medium heatproof bowl, then add the egg yolks, vanilla and 1/4 cup milk; whisk until smooth. Combine the remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, the cocoa powder and salt in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking, until combined and steaming, 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle about half of the cocoa-milk mixture into the egg mixture while whisking, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles and begins to clump, 3 to 5 more minutes. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened to a pudding, 30 seconds to 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Press the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Stir a few times to release some steam, then spoon over the cream cheese layer and spread evenly. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling. Refrigerate until set, 6 hours to overnight.
  5. Make the topping: Beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until medium-firm peaks form. Uncover the pie and spread the whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with pecans and shaved chocolate.