Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut milk dessert that I grew up eating while visiting my grandpa’s family on Oahu. It has a jell-o like consistency that is typically set in a sheet pan then cut into squares. Today, we are serving the creamy, coconut pudding in small glasses then topping with fresh fruit and shaved coconut for a tropical, spoonable treat.
Haupia (pronounced how-pee-ah) is made with just a few ingredients and comes together rather easily — probably one reason why it’s served at large gatherings and luaus all over the island state. But before conventional methods were available, my great grandparents would harvest whole, fresh coconuts and boil the coconut meat to make their own coconut milk. Now, this dairy-free, gluten-free dessert can be made at home whenever you are craving a taste of Hawaii.
This recipe requires 2 hours chill time.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Set over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, whisk together the water and cornstarch in a separate bowl to create a slurry.
Once the coconut milk begins to simmer, slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to cook the mixture over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, whisking slowly but constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens like pudding and can coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Immediately and carefully spoon the haupia into small serving dishes or glasses. Give the dish a wiggle to help the haupia settle. It will begin to firm up quickly.
Transfer the dishes of haupia to the refrigerator and chill until set, about an hour or two.
Before serving, top the haupia with about ¼ cup of fresh fruit and a sprinkle of coconut shavings.
Store haupia covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.