From Hawai’i: Haupia Squares

I’m just back from a trip to Hawai’i, and I’ve come back with a new appreciation for pinapple and coconut, and a new recipe book! Aunty Audrey’s Big Island Eats is a great compendium of food from the Big Island, but also has some great history and a big slice of the community as well – good reading for more than just the recipes. My first from the book is Irma Ikawa’s Haupia (Coconut) Squares, which I made for a a late (Jan 3) family Christmas dinner we had after we got back.

Irma Ikawa's Haupia Squares

The squares are very simple to make, light and soothing to eat. The recipe book is a little challening because all the measurements are imperial, not metric,  but I muddled my way through

4 tbsp powdered sugar (which I took to be icing sugar)
1 and a half cups of white all-purpose flour
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3/4 cup butter

2x 14 ounce (400 g) cans coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
7 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup cold water

The recipe suggests a (8 oz) container of frozen whipped topping (aka Cool Whip).  I’m not sure we can get that in Aus,  and whipped cream didn’t really appeal in this case, so I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the top of each square

For the crust: Mix the sugar, flour and chopped nuts, cut the butter into small pieces and work into the dry ingredients (I  used my fingers).  Press the mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake at 180 deg C for 20 minutes (my oven took a bit longer), or until slightly brown around the edges

For the filling: Put the coconut, milk and sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix the corn starch and cold water and add to the coconut mixture.  Cook until the mixture boils and thickens, stirring frequently.  When thick and smooth, remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Pour the haupia mixture over the baked crust and chill for 3-4 hours (or overnight).

If you’re interested in using coolwhip or cream, spread over the haupia when it is  thoroughly chilled and then cut into 24 squares.  Instead I drizzled melted dark chocolate ‘artistically’ on each square after they were cut. Yum!!


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