National Baking Month

We’re celebrating National Baking Month with a recipe from yesterday’s look at National Arkansas Day. Arkansas Possum Pie does not contain opossum… or any other meat. It’s a creamy layered pie with chocolate and cream cheese in a melt-in-your-mouth pecan shortbread crust. Okay, you could opt for Super Simple and use a prepared, store-bought 9” graham or shortbread crust, but the crust is the only thing we’re truly baking in this recipe. The pie’s name came from its deceptive appearance. Topped with thick whipped cream, you can’t see the flavorful layers beneath, so the pie is “playing possum,” so to speak. ‘Tis yummy!

Arkansas Possum Pie
1 c flour
½ c butter, softened to room temp
¼ c brown sugar
¾ c finely chopped pecans
Combine with a fork; press firmly into a 9” pie plate. Bake 15 min at 350°F. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Layer:
6-oz cream cheese, softened to room temp
½ c confectioners’ sugar
2 T heavy, whipping cream
¼ – 1/3 c chopped pecans
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and cream in a bowl till smooth; spread in bottom of cooled crust. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the cream cheese.

Chocolate Layer:
1 ¾ c cold whole milk
¾ -1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 (3.4-oz each) boxes instant pudding (see KISS Tips)
Whisk together for 2 minutes; let stand 2 more minutes to set. Spoon over the pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the pie for at least 4 hours before adding the whipped cream and garnishes to serve.

Whipped Cream Layer:
½ c heavy/whipping cream
2 T confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Grated or shaved chocolate curls
2-3 T chopped pecans (or 15-30 pecan halves)

Beat cream with hand mixer till soft peaks form; add sugar and vanilla and continue beating till mixed. Spread over the chocolate layer; garnish with chocolate and/or pecans and serve.

KISS Tips:

For the instant pudding, you can choose 2 boxes of chocolate, or 1 of chocolate and 1 of either chocolate fudge or vanilla or white chocolate. While there’s no substitute for the real thing, if you are a fan of Super Simple, feel free to use Cool Whip in place of whipping cream… or use canned whipped cream.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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