That Crispy Hawaiian Garlic Chicken recipe I just made was such a terrific introduction to Hawaiian cuisine that I wanted to try more. A quick scan of my Pinterest boards, and I found my next Hawaiian recipe: Hawaiian Coconut Pudding (Haupia). I love love love coconut! That alone was enough to pique my interest, but there’s more. This recipe has only 4 ingredients and takes 17 minutes to make. How can I not give this easy coconut dessert recipe a try? I simply must!
Hawaiian Coconut Pudding (Haupia) is a Hawaiian dessert almost similar to a gelatin. It consists of 4 simple ingredients: water, sugar, cornstarch and coconut milk.
So haupia has 4 ingredients, and I found 3 of them during my pre-shopping check through my kitchen. Cornstarch and sugar are always in my pantry, and it’s not unusual for me to have coconut milk too. This week I was out, so I added that to my shopping list and found it at my usual grocery store.
The recipe doesn’t say what type of coconut milk to use. I chose full-fat unsweetened for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the recipe calls for a 1/2 cup of sugar, so I assumed that would provide plenty of sweetness.
Second, the haupia has to set in the refrigerator so it can be cut into squares for serving. When you open a can of full-fat coconut milk you find chunks of fat floating in the liquid. That fat melts into a liquid when heated and returns to its solid form when cooled, and that’s exactly what this recipe needs to hold together.
Making this recipe was as easy as I thought it would be. The instructions are written clearly, and I didn’t have any trouble working through the steps.
I began by heating the coconut milk and sugar in a 3.3-quart pan (it had plenty of room, and I could have gone a little smaller). While it came to a boil, I mixed the cornstarch and water together, then I slowly stirred it into the coconut mixture once it came to a boil.
My only problem was I didn’t have an 8″x8″ pan. I tried pouring the pudding into a 9″x9″ baking dish, but it was very shallow. It just wouldn’t have produced the nice squares shown in the recipe.
A quick check through my cabinets and I found the perfect solution. I had a set of ceramic baking dishes, and the medium-sized dish was perfect. It’s 8.7″L x 6.3″W x 2.1″H, so the haupia was deep enough to cut into squares once it set.
I did briefly consider spraying the dish with canola oil, but I decided not to since the coconut milk had plenty of fat. I bet that would ensure easy removal from the pan, and it did.
The pudding did have some cracks on the surface when I removed it from the refrigerator the next day. That didn’t seem to affect it, though. I ran a paring knife around the edges to loosen it, cut it into squares, and tipped the pan onto a cutting board to remove the pudding. And nothing happened.
I ended up using a cake server to remove the pieces of pudding. The tapered end helped to get the haupia squares out intact, though the bottom was softer than the surface so they tilted a little when I plated them. I’m guessing the coconut fat floated to the top as the pudding cooled causing the top to be a bit firmer than the bottom.
This recipe lists 10 minutes to prep, 7 minutes to cook, and 17 minutes in total. I came in well under that with a total time of 9 minutes.
Neither time includes setting in the refrigerator, nor do the instructions list a time. I let my haupia set overnight.