There is no official "state pie," but one unique pie that came up again and again in our travels might deserve the distinction: the Possum Pie, an all-encompassing name for a variety of pie that includes a vanilla, sour cream or cream cheese filling that obscures another filling such as cherries, peaches, apples or chocolate.
I found Possum Pie everywhere, especially in western and northern Arkansas. Most were made with a pecan sandy crushed cookie bottom, though a few were traditional flour crusts. Otherwise, the design varied little — a layer of chocolate custard, a layer of whipped sour cream/cream cheese filling and a top of whipped cream, usually with a handful of pecan bits scattered across the top. Some added more layers — such as Sweet Treats in Lamar, which layers whipped cream, then chocolate custard, then a vanilla-type custard and then the whipped topping. Some eschew the pie pan all together for the casserole dish — such as Terri's Possum Pie at Sassy's Red House in Fayetteville and the Chocolate Torte at Barr's Junction in Rosston. Opal Mae's in Russellville even sets its up in a dessert glass rather than in a pie plate.
Below are the best possum pies I've found in Arkansas. No possums were harmed in the seeking out of these pies.
Barr's Junction. Though it's not called a Possum Pie, it's very typical of the genre, a casserole pie with a pecan sandy crust. Bottom to top, it's a thick sour cream cheese layer, chocolate custard and whipped cream. One of the finest examples and from a community grocery and hardware store. 6683 Highway 278, Rosston. 870-871-2426. 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Awesome Possum Pie
Front Porch Diner. A casserole pie, this pecan sandy bottom pie retains a red line from where the custard infuses with the crust. Bottom to top, it's cream cheese custard, chocolate custard and whipped cream. 669 East Robinson Ave., Springdale. 479-751-3021. 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
Myrtie Mae's. A graham cracker crust pie, this version utilizes a fluffy cream cheese bottom layer topped by chocolate mousse under whipped cream, pecans and chocolate syrup. 207 W. Van Buren, Eureka Springs. 479-253-9768. 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Opal Mae's. The pies here come in little cups, with a graham cracker as the base. Bottom to top, vanilla custard, chocolate custard and whipped cream with a dusting of pecans. 321 West B St., Russellville. 479-967-6725. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 5-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Terri's Possum Pie
Sassy's Red House. The largest Possum Pie we've found, it's a casserole pie four to five inches square, thickly layered with a pecan sandy bottom, sour cream custard, chocolate custard and a slew of whipped topping further topped by more pecans and yet more whipped topping. 708 N. College, Fayetteville. 479-856-6366. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.
Stoby's. The pie favorite at the restaurant, this is a flour-crusted custard pie built bottom to top with sour cream custard, chocolate custard and whipped cream, with pecans on top. I have seen families order these pies whole for the table to share. 405 W. Parkway, Russellville. 479-968-3816. 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
Sweet Treats. This flour crusted version differs from others thanks to a layer of whipped cream on the bottom. Up from there it's chocolate custard, a vanilla custard and whipped cream, pecans on the top. 5 Main St., Lamar. 479-647-0133. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Cash only.