Dining Guide: Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie

Purple Pie

A Hawaiian dessert with a splash of color

By Lori Masaki, WAC Pastry Chef

Like many of my peers, I worked my way through culinary school. Oftentimes, that meant working holidays and skipping trips home to Hawaii. During such times, a group of us always made a point to celebrate together. One of my favorite holidays at school was the Thanksgiving we all made a dish from childhood. I’m a pastry chef, so naturally I made dessert.

My family tradition is to have a potluck, and my aunt Carol makes the best Okinawan sweet potato pie ever!

Okinawan sweet potatoes are a Hawaiian staple. Featuring lavender-colored flesh and light brown skin, Okinawan sweet potatoes are grown in Hawaii, so they are often more affordable than regular sweet potatoes. My aunt Carol’s pie is topped with haupia, a sweet and light pudding made from coconut milk. Haupia is a popular cake and pie topping, but it can also be cubed and eaten plain.

For Hawaiian locals, Okinawan sweet potato pie is a Thanksgiving staple. It also represents the melting pot cuisine of Hawaii as it technically mixes two desserts into one. Sweet potato pie has roots in the American South, and haupia is quintessentially Hawaiian. Adding this colorful dessert to your table this Thanksgiving will surely liven up your post-dinner dessert conversation.

Pie Crust

  • 12 sticks of butter
  • 3 T. powdered sugar
  • 12 cups flour
  • 2 cup nuts

Cream butter, add sugar and nuts, and mix again. Add flour. Chill dough. Press dough into 9-by-13 pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown.

Haupia topping

  • 2 cans frozen coconut milk
  • 3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 8 tsp. salt

Mix dry ingredients with a half-cup of coconut milk to make a paste. Heat remaining coconut milk. When hot, add paste and stir until thickened. While hot, put onto potato layer.

Okinawan filling

  • 2 lbs. Okinawan sweet potatoes
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 stick butter

Steam, peel and mash potatoes. Add butter and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into baked crust. Let pie cool completely before topping with haupia.

As published in the November/December 2016 issue of WAC Magazine.

—Posted November 11, 2016

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