Transform your pumpkin pie with one extra step into a rich, creamy Island treat, Haupia Pumpkin Pie. The smooth, mildly sweet haupia layer won’t take you much more time than to make the pie. A layered pie is always impressive-looking, right? And this one is gluten-and-dairy-free. Vegan if you use flax eggs.
I haven’t included cooling time in the timing for the recipe, but it works best to let the pie layer cool before spreading on the haupia. You can cool longer than indicated here, just not so long that the pie dries out in the refrigerator. The pumpkin pie may pull away from the crust anyway, but the haupia will cover that right up!
What is Haupia?
Haupia is a delicious coconut pudding. It’s an easy recipe that I first learned to make when my husband and I moved to Hawaii in 1983. The Hawaiian Electric Company would send a recipe in every utility bill, and this was one of them. And now the recipes are online of course!
With just four ingredients, haupia was a really easy potluck item for someone new to Hawaii. It was always popular and folks were impressed that I took the time (it wasn’t that much time!).
But the more I made this recipe, the more I reduced the amount of sugar. As our tastes changed, various members of my family asked for the haupia to be less sweet. And, we think it’s even creamier with less sugar.
Is frozen or canned coconut milk best for Haupia?
In “those days” I used frozen coconut milk. But though that’s still available in Honolulu as of this first week of January of 2020, now it costs more than twice as much as canned. Being able to use canned means that I can even make haupia when I head back to Denver, which will make my son very happy!
Still, the frozen coconut milk adds a fresh coconut flavor that can’t be beat, and is worth the expense for a real treat. The frozen product also gives a whiter haupia than the canned does.
How do you thicken Haupia?
Cornstarch is the typical thickener used but tapioca starch works just as well. The amount of cornstarch (or tapioca) can vary depending on how firm you want the pudding to be: 5 tablespoons for firm, 4 for medium, 3 for soft, spoonable pudding.
Is this haupia pumpkin pie grain-free?
Yes! The crust is grain-free, as it’s mainly almond flour and flax meal. The filling is naturally grain-free as it is thickened either by the eggs or flax eggs. The haupia is grain-free if you use tapioca to thicken it.
Cooking Tips for Haupia Pumpkin Pie
The pumpkin pie recipe and crust are very close to the recipes in my pumpkin pie bars. In this case, I get a bit thinner crust than with the bars, and a thinner crust works out well so it doesn’t get soggy.
For the pie filling I use slightly less coconut milk than for the bars, to be sure the pie layer is firm enough to allow me to spread the haupia on top.
Also, I always use the top cream part of the canned coconut milk for the pie, and save the coconut water for a smoothie, or drink it as-is. Be careful if you usually buy the Chaokoh brand of coconut milk. It doesn’t tend to separate into a top and bottom layer, but it will if you refrigerate it.
You need a fairly deep dish pie pan to fit the crust, pumpkin layer and haupia layers. You may decide after baking the crust and pumpkin pie to make a thinner haupia layer than this recipe makes. If you do, just pour the extra haupia into a small container, like a food storage dish, to let it set in the refrigerator.
I use my food processor to make the crust and then the pumpkin pie filling. I could easily mix the filling in a bowl but it’s convenient to just throw everything into the same food processor bowl without having to wash it in-between.
As always, if you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below. And I’d love it if you’d pin or otherwise share!
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Other dessert recipes you may enjoy:
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Haupia Pumpkin Pie - Gluten-and-Dairy-free
For the gluten-free pie crust
- 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons water
For the Pumpkin pie layer:
- 2 eggs or flax eggs: 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + ⅓ cup water*
- 14.5 ounces pumpkin 1¾ cups
- 8 ounces coconut cream from the top of the can of coconut milk
- ⅜ cup organic cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom optional
For the haupia
- 1 can 13.5 oz full-fat coconut milk (or 12 ounces frozen coconut milk)
- 3 tablespoons sugar organic cane sugar
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons if using frozen coconut milk
For the gluten-free pie crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the almond flour, sea salt, ground flax seed and coconut oil in a food processor. Whiz until the coconut oil is well blended in.
- Add the water and pulse until the crust gathers into a ball.
- Dump the crust into the pie pan and, using your hands, press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is evenly set but not browned.
- Allow to cool while assembling the pie layer.
For the pumpkin pie layer
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Using the same food processor bowl as for the crust, process the eggs until just beaten, then stir in the pumpkin and pulse until mixed. Add the coconut cream. (If using flax eggs, add them here). Process until all is blended.
- Sprinkle in the sugar and pulse until mixed in. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you can’t see any bits of coconut cream. Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the baked pie shell.
- Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for another 50-60 minutes until the crust begins to brown slightly and the center of the pie barely jiggles. It may take longer; let the browning of the crust be your guide.
- Allow the pie to cool, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
For the haupia
- Put coconut milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer on low heat.
- In a bowl (or to save dishes, in the empty coconut milk can), combine water and cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Pour cornstarch mixture into the simmering coconut milk. Stirring frequently, cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Continue cooking until mixture starts to get translucent, and the spoon leaves a path when you stir. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes until no longer hot.
- Pour over the pie and spread evenly. If there is any extra, pour into a small rectangular dish. Chill the pie and the extra haupia at least 2 hours until the haupia layer is firm.
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