My daughter doesn't bake. Although she is a great cook, as her husband and children will confirm, her lack of baking skills were evident when on a recent visit to her home on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, I asked her for a pie plate so my granddaughter and I could make a chocolate haupia pie.
"I don't have a pie plate," she said. "I've never made a pie."
To compensate for this lack of dishware, we used a 9-by-13 glass baking dish and made what my granddaughter suggested we call a chocolate haupia pudding dessert rather than a pie. We found that while the same ingredients may have changed the method of our recipe, it didn't change the taste of this traditional Hawaiian dessert.
Tribune Chronicle / Kathleen Evanoff
Chocolate haupia pie is a delicious way to bring a bit of the Hawaiian Islands to northeast Ohio.
This was my first visit to the island of Oahu and I had never heard of this dessert until a friend, upon hearing of my pending vacation, said I had to try this wonderful pie found in local restaurants. Knowing I had a cooking feature due as soon as I returned, I decided to do forego the typical rice, ti leaves, pineapple and Spam recipes and instead did a little Internet searching for chocolate haupia pie.
According to HawaiiMagazine.com, haupia is a sweet dessert made with coconut milk. Often, little cubes of chilled haupia can be found among the food offerings at a traditional Hawaiian luau. According to the article, chocolate haupia pie goes one step further and combines the cubed dessert with chocolate and a whipped cream topping.
Many local restaurants offer chocolate haupia pie, particularly those on the North Shore of the island, an area popular for its surfing spots. According to the magazine article's author, Kalei Talwar, none of the restaurants were willing to give up the recipe, so we used Talwar's recipe from the Internet magazine.
Getting an unbaked pie crust to fit a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish was not difficult but took a little creativity. Commercial unbaked pie shells are not square or even rectangle; they are round, just as a pie should be. With a bit of pressing and prodding, my granddaughter managed to fit the crust into the baking dish, although while baking, it shrunk a bit and became simply a bottom crust. Since this was a dessert and not really a pie due to the shape of our container, we decided that the shape of our dish didn't really matter. In addition, because we were using two pie crusts in one container, the baking time was longer than the 15 minutes the package recommended. To add to this dilemma, my daughter advised that we were at a higher elevation on the island, which also added to the baking time. As a result, it took closer to 30 minutes for our crust to reach that golden brown stage.
We also didn't have the rich Dutch chocolate for the pudding. In my haste to purchase ingredients, I read the recipe wrong and bought cocoa instead of a chocolate bar. Rather than try to figure out substitutions for the cocoa, we decided to use semi-sweet chocolate chips from my daughter's pantry. Although the Dutch chocolate would have given the dessert a richer flavor, the semi-sweet chips still provided the pudding with plenty of the chocolately goodness we all love.
If I were to prepare this dessert again, I would most certainly opt for the Dutch chocolate, but another change I would make is to double the pudding recipe to give it a thicker layer beneath the whipped topping. As a 9-inch pie, the recipe is good as it stands, but spread over our 9-by-13-inch baking dish, the pudding layer would have been more substantial if we had doubled the recipe.
Because our days were filled with sightseeing, beaches, warm weather and sand, it was late by the time we were able to make our dessert. To speed up the process, instead of refrigerating the pudding for an hour before adding the whipped topping as the recipe suggests, we placed our dish in the freezer for about 15 minutes, which cooled the pudding enough to add the whipped topping.
Even with our substitutions and method changes, our dessert came out quite well and was enjoyed by the coconut-loving members of our group.