I must be missing home because (and I’m only now realizing this) all of my recent recipes on here have been revisited childhood treats. And this is no exception. Ube Haupia Pie is a very popular dessert in Hawaii, so popular that you can usually find a version of this dessert at any grocery store back home. It’s creamy, sweet, and so delicious!
Let’s break this one down layer by layer.
Normally, this dessert would be made into bars with a shortbread crust, rather than as a whole pie. I decided to throw it in my favorite homemade pie crust (because who doesn’t love a buttery and flakey pie crust) and, although a little different, it tasted just as good. Feel free to use whatever type of crust you prefer, I’m sure it’ll be delicious either way!
The crust must be pre-baked, since you won’t need to bake either the ube or haupia layer. My crust turned out so ugly because I didn’t use any pie weights (I get lazy and I don’t own any) but make sure that your crust is super cold before putting it in the oven.
I’ll be honest, the pie pictured in this blog post does not have an ube layer. At least not technically. Anything that is labeled as ube uses Okinawan sweet potato, which gives it a more purple-blue tint. I could not find Okinawan sweet potato anywhere (*sigh*) but I did end up finding Stokes Purple sweet potato. While slightly different, in look and in taste, it worked just as well. You can substitute this layer with any type of sweet potato really, although I personally think the purple color makes this pie so so pretty!
The ube layer is made with purple sweet potato, honey, and heavy cream/milk. I add butter, which is optional, but it gives it a richer taste and glossier look. You’ll want to pre-roast the potatoes so they’re nice and mushy, and then mash everything together. I include measurements below, but you’ll want to make this step by taste and look, rather than precise measurements. You can also substitute the sweetener for anything you have on hand (condensed milk, sugar, etc.).
Haupia is a coconut-based Hawaiian dessert. Traditionally, it was made with arrowroot and coconut cream, but recipes today will utilize coconut milk, cornstarch, water, and sugar. It’s that simple! Haupia on its own is normally much firmer than in this recipe. I prefer a soft-set haupia pudding so the pie as a whole stays creamy and smooth.
Put all three layers together and you’ve got yourself a winning pie! After layering the ube and haupia in your pie crust, you’ll want to let it sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. Top with coconut shavings, macadamia nuts, or just eat it on its own! Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.
Ube Haupia Pie
For the crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 15 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
For the ube:
- 2-3 medium purple sweet potatoes
- 3 tbsp honey, or more to taste
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
For the haupia:
- 1 can 13.5 oz coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
Make the pie crust:
- In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Pulse until mixture is crumbly and butter is broken up into pea-sized bits.
- Pour ice water into the machine and pulse a couple of times, until the dough is evenly moist. Do not overmix (you do not want the dough to form into a ball in the machine). If needed, add another tablespoon of water.
- Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc, wrap with the plastic, and place in the fridge. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Pie crust can be made one day in advance.
- On a floured surface, roll out the disc of chilled dough. Roll out and cut out a circle with a diameter about 3 inches larger than your pie dish (you want a 12-inch diameter of crust for a 9-inch pie dish).
- Pinch the dough and flute the edges (use your thumb and pointer finger on one hand, and pointer finger knuckle on the other).
- Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Remember, you want your crust to be super cold before it goes into the oven!
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. After your pie is done chilling, prick with a fork all around the bottom and sides. Alternatively, fill with parchment paper and pie weights.
- Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until golden brown and thoroughly baked. If using pie weights, you'll want to remove them midway (but poke holes before returning to the oven!).
- Take the pie crust out of the oven and set it aside to cool.
Make the ube:
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Lightly wash your potatoes and prick holes in them with a knife or fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, or until very soft.
- Once the potatoes have become mushy, take them out of the oven. Remove the skins (be careful, they're hot!) and place the insides into a medium mixing bowl.
- Mash potatoes until there are no lumps. Add your honey and heavy cream and mix until well combined. Adjust the amount of honey and heavy cream by taste and by look. It should be thick, like cookie dough, but not too thick that it takes a lot of effort to mix.
- Add the butter. This step is optional but it does give the ube a richer flavor and a glossy look. Mix until fully melted into the ube (the heat from the potatoes should melt the butter relatively quickly).
- Place into the cooled pie crust and set aside.
Make the haupia:
- In a medium pot, combine the coconut milk and water. Place over medium heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add to the coconut milk and whisk to combine.
- Whisk continuously over the heat until the cornstarch and sugar fully dissolve and the mixture thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes. The thicker you allow the mixture to become, the firmer it will end up being.
- Pour haupia evenly over the cooled ube layer.
- Place the pie in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Enjoy!