Haupia with Mac Nut Crumb and Roasted Pineapple Recipe – Hawaii’s Traditional Sweet Treat

This is a traditional Hawaiian dish. It is typically made with coconut milk, sugar, and flour.

The mac nut crumb topping can be made with any type of nuts you prefer. You can also use different types of fruit in the topping if you want to change it up a bit.

This dessert is traditionally served at Christmas time in Hawaii but it can be served anytime as an alternative to traditional Christmas desserts like gingerbread cake or red velvet cake.

I first had haupia in Oahu in January at Ted’s Bakery. It was encased between chocolate pastry cream and whipped cream, all held up by a flaky, buttery pastry crust. It was good, not too sweet, and had an ultra-smooth texture. But I had one problem with it.

Pineapple Recipe

Whipped Cream!

I loath whipped cream. I have never liked it. It’s on my list of no foods. So after scraping off all the whipped cream, it was perfect. The beautiful location of the bakery and being on vacation probably added to the allure. But it still has been stuck in my head, even after 6 months. So I looked up haupia and saw it was ridiculously easy to make. 

I knew I didn’t want to make a pie solely based on the fact that I really wanted something to photograph in these bowls. They are beautiful. A few chips here and there in some of them, but I still love them. The one pictured in the first photo is such a tiny little thing; it just fits in the palm of my hand. The inside is quite rough, and the glaze drips down the outsides. 

So then I had to decide on what to serve the haupia with. Actually, deciding on what to make is probably the hardest part for me. My brain runs at rapid fire, and I have too many ideas, get overwhelmed, can’t decide on what to make, and then just scrap the whole plan entirely. But this time, I made a decision.


Just stick with a cliched Hawaiian theme. Macadamia nuts and pineapple. And I was quite pleased with the results. The pineapple still has its tartness after being roasted. The mac nut crumbs are buttery and addicting. You might want to make a double batch of the crumb. It is quite easy to snack on while you are waiting for the haupia to set. I might have had to make another batch after snacking a bit too much….  


  • 1/3 cup (66g) white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (55g) cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) lukewarm water
  • 2 cups (473ml) coconut milk

Gather a few bowls you will want to serve the haupia in and set them aside. I used a few different sized ones but should make 4-5 moderate portions.

Whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add in water and whisk until dissolved. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat coconut milk over low until warm. Stir in a sugar mixture. Stir constantly over low heat until thickened and coats back of a spoon, 5-7 minutes. Pour into bowls. Let cool on the countertop until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for 4-5 hours, preferably overnight.


Macadamia Nut Crumb

  • 1 1/4 cups (156g) AP flour
  • 1/3 cup (44g) macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup (66g) white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (114g) butter, cold and cubed

Oven 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

Mix AP, nuts, sugar, salt, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add in butter and cut in until small clumps form. You can use a fork or pastry cutter, but I just use my hands. Break up over baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Toss halfway through baking. Let cool completely.


@bon Appetit


Roasted Pineapple

  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) orange juice
  • 3 tbsp (63g) honey
  • 1 medium pineapple, skinned, cored, and cut into small pieces

Oven 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

Whisk brown sugar, orange juice, and honey together in a large shallow bowl. Add in pineapple. Let marinate for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Place on the baking sheet in an even layer. Reserve the marinade. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, and turn over each pineapple piece. Brush with the remaining marinade. Bake for 15 more minutes or so until the pineapple has caramelized. Let cool completely.

@bon Appetit

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