To be honest the first time I tried this in Hawaii I wasn’t overly impressed. It isn’t nearly as sweet as what most people consider a dessert, it isn’t savory, and it doesn’t really have that strong of a flavor. It is however quite refreshing and versatile. After I realized that it didn’t taste like I expected, I learned to appreciate it for its own qualities.
Haupia is a staple food at most authentic luaus.
This slightly sweet, coconut treat congeals well enough to be poured into shapes and molded or if you prefer a traditional presentation it can be easily cut into cubes and served on ti leaves. Some recipes recommend adding a little grated coconut- if you decide to do that I recommend that you toast it first (see how to toast coconut ). Haupia is really delicious poured into a prepared crust, topped with fresh fruit, or used as a lighter alternative to the high-fat options that normally frost a cake. With hot weather around the corner this recipe would also be delicious to make and freeze for a simple popsicle flavor!
3 cups coconut milk
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup corn starch
¾ cup water
½ tsp vanilla or coconut extract
½ tsp sea salt
Heat coconut milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. When mixture is smooth, gradually whisk it into the warming coconut milk. Whisk mixture continuously over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour it into a 9”x9” square baking pan or other mold then refrigerate until set.
I enjoy using silicone ice cube trays in Hawaiian shapes for fun, individual, servings. Use a small ice cream scoop to pour the desired amount into the mold then smooth the top with a spatula then refrigerate.
To use as frosting, spread on baked and cooled cake immeadiatly after the haupia thickens (before it fully sets) then refrigerate until ready to serve.