Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie is a traditional Hawaiian dessert made with Macadamia Nut Shortbread Crust, filled with pureed or chunky Okinawan Sweet Potato and topped with creamy coconut pudding called Haupia.
This is a delicious dessert to try this Thanksgiving or during the holidays.
This pie has a vibrant deep purple color that comes from the Okinawan Sweet Potato also known as Purple Sweet Potato.
It is rich in flavor and high in antioxidant. Its purple color pops out when topped with the creamy white coconut pudding while the crumbly Macadamia Nut Shortbread crust adds texture and a nutty flavor to this decadent pie.
This pie has a subtle sweetness which is one reason why I like it. As much as I like sweets, I don’t care for too sweet desserts.
It was 10 years ago with family that I had my first taste of this pie at a restaurant while visiting Chicago.
When I lived in Chicago, a Greek friend lived in the area and we frequented this seafood restaurant when they were still small and never remember seeing this pie in their menu. I vacationed in Oahu and Maui but never run into this pie either. So I missed out on both occasions.
Anyway, the pie was a lighter version of this Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie that was so delicious as well.
After coming back from vacation, I looked for recipes online and found only one recipe from maona.net posted by Alan in 2005. I visited his website last year and found out that he has taken down the site.
Luckily, I printed and kept his recipe. Thank you for sharing. I wanted to link to his site but the recipe is no longer there.
I love his recipe but I also want to figure out how to make the lighter and fluffier version. One of these days, I will and post it.
When I make this pie, it reminds me of the Filipino Ube Halaya made with a different variety of purple yam.
Imported frozen ube yam is available in Asian stores but I would rather use fresh ingredients so when making halaya I substitute it with the Okinawan sweet potato.
How to Make Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie
This Hawaiian dessert recipe is easy to make and rich in flavor. Okinawan Sweet Potato and coconut milk are both available in Asian stores and sometimes labeled as Japanese Purple Sweet Potato.
Select sweet potatoes that are firm without brown spots. They come in different sizes, so use your best judgement to fill up 2 cups.
If you end up with extra filling, top it with haupia and sprinkle some macadamia nuts and it is delicious as well even without the crust.
Both crust and filling can be made a day or two in advance, placed in a sealed container in the fridge.
I’m not sure if you can leave the crust in room temperature, I've never tried it.
Make the coconut topping on the day you are serving it. This dessert is best serve when chilled.
I did not changed anything in his recipe but added macadamia nuts and toasted pinipig as toppings. You can also use toasted coconut.
There are 3 process involved in making this pie.
- Macadamia Nut Shortbread Crust
- Okinawan Sweet Potato Filling
- Creamy Haupia Coconut Pudding
Believe me, it is not hard to make.
Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie
Macadamia Nut Shortbread Crust
- ¾ cup cold unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- 1 cup macadamia nuts well chopped
Okinawan Sweet Potato Layer
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 cups Okinawan Sweet Potatoes mashed
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 can 13.5 oz coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- In a deep pot, add enough water to cover the Okinawan Sweet Potatoes. Boil until tender. To check, pierce the center of sweet potato with a fork. If it slides easily, potato is cook.
- Drain water. Peel and mash potatoes, set aside to cool. Note: Depending on your liking, you can puree sweet potatoes with other ingredients in the blender or if you prefer a chunkier filling use a fork to mash it.
- Meanwhile, prepare crust.
- Chop macadamia nuts using a mortar or a food processor. Cut butter into cubes.
- In a bowl, combine chopped macadamia nuts and butter. Use a spatula and a fork to break and mix butter with macadamia. Once mixture is crumbly and no large butter chunks remain, it is time to make the crust.
- Spread macadamia nut mixture evenly at the bottom of pie pan. Starting at the center, use your fingers and press mixture to form a crust working your way up to the sides of pan. Use a fork to crimp the top edges of crust or however you prefer to do it.
- Place the crust in the fridge while preparing filling.
- Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees F.
- The next process either you do it by hand for a chunkier filling or use a blender for a smoother texture. (I like it with some small chunks.)
- In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
- On one side of bowl, lightly beat eggs. Combine eggs with mixture until completely incorporated.
- Gradually add mashed Okinawan Sweet Potatoes, mixing thoroughly.
- Add evaporated milk, vanilla and salt. Blend well.
- Take the crust from the fridge and spread the sweet potato filling into the pie crust. Leave ½ an inch on top for the Haupia layer.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until the edge of the crust is golden and the potato filling is lightly browning in spots.
- Cool pie completely in the refrigerator.
- When pie has cooled, prepare the haupia layer. Note: Don’t prepare haupia ahead of time as it will solidify into chunky globs of coconut.
- In a saucepan, add the coconut milk and water, but don’t turn on the heat just yet.
- Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl then add it to the coconut milk mixture.
- Heat at medium-low stirring constantly, until thickened. If you spoon out and lift mixture and glop of mixture falls back into the pan, it is ready. Remove pan from heat.
- Immediately pour haupia mixture over pie spreading evenly. Return to the fridge and chill for several hours. Note: Haupia should be applied as soon as it’s cooked as it will turn solid.
- If you like, top with macadamia nuts, toasted coconut or toasted pinipig. Serve cold. Enjoy!