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Playing possum with pie 

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.

Chocolate Torte

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.

Possum Pie

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.

Possum Pie

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.

Possum Pie

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.

Possum Pie

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.

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