Cheré Dastugue Coen
Is there possum in possum pie?
No, but it's dang good eatin'!
Arkansas is known for its pies — lots of ‘em and plenty of variety. Just ask Kat Robinson, author of a whole book on the state’s desserts, titled “Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State.” Robinson’s book is as much travelogue as foodie fare, and there are lots of recipes as well.
There’s a reason Robinson wrote an entire book on the subject. Pies are everywhere in Arkansas and they are some delicious. Many are unique to the state, too.
Take the Possum Pie, for instance. I sampled this delectable creature while dining on top of Petit Jean Mountain about an hour north of Hot Springs. Petit Jean State Park offers a lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and there’s a fabulous restaurant inside that overlooks the mountains and the canyon below. My waitress claimed my slice of possum pie contained layers of cream cheese, chocolate mousse, cream cheese again, then topped with whipped cream, caramel and chocolate dribbles, and finally chocolate chips. Talk about good! And no, there are no possums involved in the cooking of this pie.
In Eureka Springs, I sat on the balcony of the Basin Park Hotel in the aptly named Balcony Restaurant and devoured the Huckleberry Pie, the restaurant's signature dessert. This crescent-shaped trip to heaven includes a huckleberry filling inside pastry that’s fried and served with huckleberry ice cream.
And while you’re giving yourself a sugar coma, you can view downtown Eureka Springs and the nearby Basin Spring, where the town originated after the water there was found to be curative. Better yet, spend the night in the historic hotel, enjoy the spa and maybe see a ghost; the hotel’s haunted like most of the historic town.