Okinawan Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie

One of my favorite desserts when I'm home is made from Okinawan sweet potatoes, macadamia nuts, and coconut milk. With the exception of the sweet potatoes, all the ingredients are pretty easy to get on the mainland but it's something I really only associate with Hawaii and have only made once in Boston. The nice thing about this pie is it's not too sweet but very satisfying. I followed (mostly) the recipe found on 'Ono Kine Grindz.

It starts with Okinawan sweet potatoes which are readily found in super markets and farmers' markets in Hawaii. They have a light skin and a flesh that ranges from pale to deep purple. When cooked they are drier and tighter than orange yams and sweet potatoes. For this recipe the potatoes can be baked or boiled before they are whipped. I chose to mash them by hand because I like the chunkier texture. The one time I made this in Boston, I searched through all the different types of sweet potatoes at my local Whole Foods and found one that worked reasonably well (I wish I could remember the exact variety).

Okinawan sweet potatoes
Boiled and then mashed
The base of the dessert is a pretty straight-forward baked shortbread crust with macadamia nuts. My sister doesn't have a pastry blender so we cut the butter in the old fashioned way - with two butter knives. (I'll be sure to remedy that situation the next time I'm home.)

Cutting in the butter by hand
After the crust is baked it's topped with the sweet potato layer - a mixture of the mashed sweet potatoes, butter, eggs, milk, and a few other ingredients. While the sweet potato layer baked I made the haupia - a coconut pudding made with coconut milk, sugar, water, and cornstarch to thicken. After letting the dish cool for a bit, I poured the warm haupia for the final layer and then put it into the refrigerator to set overnight.

Not the best picture but it was ono (delicious)!

I wish I had a piece of this pie right now (or a whole pan). I'll be making this again on my next trip home.


(Update: December 18, 2013)
Of all the posts on my blog, this one is the most popular. I worry that one day the recipe link might not be available so I'm including it here. Full attribution to 'Ono Kine Grindz for the recipe. My personal notes are in italics below. Other notes come from the original recipe.


Okinawan Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie


Crust


1½ sticks of unsalted butter
⅛ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and flour. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add chopped macadamia nuts and mix well. Press lightly into a 13" x 9" baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 12-17 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

**NOTES**

The recipe for this crust is similar to one for a macadamia nut shortbread. You may substitute any shortbread recipe for this one.

(Someone in my family is allergic to nuts so we don't include the nuts and just substitute the same amount of flour.)

Okinawan Sweet Potato Layer


2 cups Okinawan sweet potatoes, cooked and whipped
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Next, fold in whipped Okinawan sweet potatoes. Then, add in milk, vanilla and salt. Continue to mix until well combined. Mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter. Pour onto crust and bake at 350°F  for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

**NOTE**

Instead of whipping the Okinawan sweet potatoes, they may be mashed for a more "chunky" texture. I prefer them whipped. The texture is smooth, light and fluffy. Whipping gives this a "melt-in-your-mouth" feel.

Haupia Layer


½ cup sugar
½ cup cornstarch
1¼ cups lukewarm water
2 12-ounce cans frozen coconut milk, defrosted

(Note: I use two 13.5 ounce cans of regular coconut milk because it's easier to find. I reduce the amount of water to 1 cup when I do that)

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add water and stir until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat coconut milk on low until warmed through. Slowly add in sugar/cornstarch/water mixture, stirring constantly until coconut milk mixture is thickened (about 5-7 minutes). Let cool slightly, then pour over Okinawan sweet potato mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 4-5 hours, overnight is best.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Best dessert I have ever had. My wife grew up on Oahu and I have visited the islands over 20 times. Many years back my father in law made this pie from scratch and I was hooked after the first bite. If you are on Oahu, go to Ani's Bakery in Aiea. You won't regret it.
That looks absolutely amazing. Purple sweet potato is also very high in antioxidants.