Growing up in Hawaii, haupia is one of my favorite flavors and if you love coconut, you will love this Hawaii spin on sweet potato pie. The filling is made with purple sweet potatoes and topped with a Hawaii favorite, haupia, which is a lightly sweet coconut pudding. The sweet potato haupia pie is finished with chopped macadamia nuts and shredded coconut. And even more impressive once you cut through the striking layers.
Hawaii is a melting pot of food and cultures and one of my favorite flavors is both purple sweet potatoes and haupia, which is a sweetened coconut pudding. You will often find a similar recipe to this pie, but made as bars and cut into squares. However, I am channeling holiday baking so a purple sweet potato pie it is.
Purple Sweet Potatoes
In Hawaii, you'll find Okinawan sweet potatoes, which have a very light tan skin and dark purple flesh. They're harder to find on the mainland, but a good substitute are stokes purple potatoes, which have a darker exterior and are a bit more starchy.
Stokes purple potatoes are used in this recipe and as you can tell, provide a striking purple color. Just like for sweet potato pie, start with peeling and cubing the potatoes and bring them to a boil and cook until very tender. The water will turn a dark color and the potatoes color stays in tact.
If you see the word "haupia" in Hawaii, it always means coconut. One of my favorite bites is haupia mochi which is made with coconut and rice flour and is sweet, chewy and addictive. You can also find haupia served as a thickened coconut pudding cut into squares.
To make haupia for the sweet potato pie: Combine equal parts cornstarch and sugar to warmed coconut milk and whisk until thickened. Then pour over the purple sweet potato pie and top with shredded coconut and macadamia nuts.
When you cut through a slice, you'll see the beautiful rich purple layer and the white coconut haupia layer.
A Few Cooking Notes
- Chill the baked pie before adding the haupia layer.
- Prep and boil the sweet potatoes up to 3 days ahead of time.
- This recipe has been tested with both homemade pie crust and store bought pie crust.
- Whisk the haupia layer until thick and the consistency of honey.
- Pie can be made ahead of time and completely assembled up to 3 days before serving.
Purple Sweet Potato Haupia Pie
- 1 cup unsalted butter chilled and cut into cibes
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
Purple Sweet Potato Layer
- 3 medium purple Stokes potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- 1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
- pinch of salt
- 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (not light)
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup macadamia nuts finely chopped
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- Make the pie crust. Add the flour, butter, salt and sugar to a food processor and pulse a few times until the butter looks like small peas. With the motor running, slowly add the cold water, and pulse together until a ball of dough forms.
- Dive dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap, forming a smooth round disk. Place dough in fridge for at least 20 minutes (or freezer for 10-15 minutes). This will be your crusts for both pies.
- Make the sweet potato filling. Boil purple sweet potatoes potatoes for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft. Then pour water out and add potatoes to (clean) food processor and pulse a few times to puree potatoes.
- Add melted butter, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and flavorings. Process everything together until mixture becomes a smooth creamy consistency. Set aside.
- Roll out pie crust. Once pie crust is chilled, roll out to about ½ an inch wider than the pie dish you'll be using. Roll out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin and fit into a 9 inch pie dish. Crimp the edge of pie into desired pattern. Repeat with other dough if making 2 pies.
- Bake sweet potato pie. Pour sweet potato filling into pie shells and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes. You will know pie is done when the crust is lightly golden brown and you can insert a knife into the potato layer and it comes out clean. If crust browns too fast, cover with foil and continue baking.
- Cool pie to room temperature. Once pie is done remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature for a few hours. Or place in fridge overnight.
- Make the haupia layer. Mix together the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside. Heat coconut milk and water in a small pot until warm and add the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Whisk together and continue whisking for 5-8 minutes until sugar dissolves and haupia becomes thick, almost the consistency of thick honey. Once ready, pour haupia over sweet potato layer and top with chopped macadamia nuts and shredded coconut.
- Allow pie to set and chill for several hours until haupia layer is cool and serve.
Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious says
Oh yeah, I want a slice o' THAT pie!
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says
I love purple sweet potatoes, best color ever! This pie is gorgeous.
Now I REALLY wish my parents still lived in Hawaii! Two of my most favorite things into one pie?! Now to find some purple sweet potatoes here in NC...probably not!
Ya never know...what about Whole Foods?? or Asian or Latin markets perhaps?? Thanks Tami!
For those who find this in the future, a source is Super G Mart, W. Market Street, Greensboro, NC.
There is another Super G in Charlotte, E Independence Blvd. which might have them too.
Check the Asian markets! I've found ube all over NC!
This looks amazing! Have you tried it with the orange sweet potatoes?
Oh no but I think it would be lovely!! In Hawaii, its traditionally made with purple but I think the orange would be lovely too.
Hi! I'm living in Hawaii and for our first Thanksgiving here I wanted to make something unique and I found this recipe. It came out amazing! Thanks so much for sharing.
One minor note but in your instructions, you forgot to say to mix the water with the cornstarch and sugar before pouring into the hot coconut milk.
Thank you so much Patti!!! And thank you for catching that..I'll update the recipe.
This needs to still be updated about the water part in the Haupia layer.
I had to come to the comments to find out what to do with it. Thankfully someone said something as I had already made the pies by the time I noticed it.
Thanks Lindsey for letting me know. The recipe has been fixed..human error on my part. I hope the recipe came out well for you. Happy Holidays!
molly sakahara says
Great recipe! I made this pie four times already and love it. I cut back on the sugar and I found that I liked the layer of haupia a little thinner so I scaled back the ingredients to make a thinner haupia. I don't own a food processor so I blended the ingredients and it works 'smoothly' as well. I couldn't find macadamia nuts for one of my pies but found the Hawaiian Host choco covered macadamia nuts so I chopped those up and used it; fun alternative. TOASTING the shredded coconut topping is a must!
Thank you so much for sharing Molly!!! And great idea on the chocolate covered mac nuts...genius!!!
In your ingredients list you have sugar for the filling but you left it out in your directions, so I made it without sugar. Eek. I thought it was strange while baking it. I should have reread the ingredients list earlier. Fingers crossed it still turns out and the coconut layer is enough sweetness.
Hi Sandy! Thank you for letting me know..it was a human error for sure, my apologies. Recipe has been updated. I hope the pie came out well.
I'm not sure why you need both evaporated and coconut milks. Coconut milk is a typical substitute for evaporated milk. Keep it simple and save wasted ingredients by only using a cup of each and pick one or the other.
Pat Carvalho Thornberg says
Aloha from Kansas.
I was given some hugh (they weigh a pound plus each) purple sweet potatoes and would love to make this pie but '3 sweet potatoes' might be way too much. Could you give me an idea of how many cups of potato pulp i should use, Mahalo!
Hi Pat! Apologies for the incredibly late reply. I would guesstimate about 2 cups'ish worth of mashed potato. Would love to hear the outcome! Happy cooking!
Kayla DiMaggio says
Yum! So delicious! this pie was a total hit!
Gabriela Herrera says
I love the beautiful colors and minimal ingredients of this pie. Thank you so much it is right on time for the holidays.
Andrew Vargo says
Instructions say to divide dough in half and refrigerate. Do we use both halves to make the crust or just one? It doesn't clearly state that.
Hi Andrew! The recipe is for 2 pies, 1 crust for each pie. Thanks for the question, I'll clarify in the recipe shortly.