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Haupia, Coconut Pudding

Picture from here

Sometimes I browse the bakery section at normal grocery stores to see how horrible those innocent looking treats really are to remind myself why I am vegan. I know that sounds weird, but I wish everyone would do this just once. Take the time to actually read the ingredients in those doughnuts or cakes, and you will probably never want to eat them again. But one day I came across something I had never seen before. It was a small little white square covered with shredded coconut. It had only a few simple ingredients, was fairly low in fat and calories, and was made at a local bakery. And it was vegan. I bought the little white square and surprised when I bit into it. It was squishy like gelatin, but sweet and coconutty. I am not a fan of gummy or jelly things, but I love coconut so I was torn on whether I liked the treat or not. And to be honest, I am still torn. Yet, this is the second time I have made this dessert at home.

Haupia is a technically coconut pudding made from starch and coconut milk, but has the texture of gelatin. Gelatin is not vegan (ever heard the saying “take the horse to the glue factory”?) so I was kind of skeptical that the haupia square at the store was labeled properly. But my skepticism was set aside when my homemade version was just as gelatinous.

I can’t find much information on the history of haupia besides it became popular after World War II and was originally made with arrowroot starch. It is easy to make but requires your full attention while cooking. This recipe is based on two fairly similar recipes, one from a luau recipe website and one from Food.com. Both recipes call for cornstarch, which I don’t use that often so I usually don’t keep in the cupboard.  I was about to cave and buy some when I realized that Enger-G Egg Replacer, which I usually have on hand because it is so versatile, is made from starch. So I gave it a shot and it worked just fine.

A side note about canned coconut milk I mentioned in my Yellow Curry post: light coconut milk is a waste of money.  It is just watered down normal coconut milk and usually costs more. Save the money and just add water yourself if you want cut down on calories.

Haupia
1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Enger-G Egg Replacer or cornstarch
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

 

In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut milk, water, and sugar over medium heat while continuously whisking.

When it is about to boil, gradually add the egg replacer or starch and continue to whisk.

When it starts to thicken slightly, add the vanilla, salt, and shredded coconut flakes and continue to whisk.

Remove from the heat when it is smooth but as thick as pudding.

Pour into desired dish and chill for at least two hours so it can fully set up. Here is a little advice on what shape of dish to use. The first time I made this, I tried to replicate the one I got from the store so I used a square pan so it would be just as thick. But the pan was too small so it came out really thick. Since I don’t like squishy/gelatin things, I used a sheet pan this time so it would be thinner. But it was too thin and did not come out of the pan very nicely. So, I next time I make this I am going to use medium-sized square pan, and shoot for around 1/2 inch thickness.

Since they did not come out of the pan in a decent looking form, I didn’t take any final pictures. But I promise they were yummy, if you like squishy things that is. I topped mine with some additional shredded coconut too, it helped cut down on the squishyness.

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