Hau Pia: Hawaiian Dessert

Hau Pia: Hawaiian Dessert

This melt-in-your-mouth Hau Pia is the quintessential Hawaiian dessert. It's exactly the kind of treat that is served at Hawaiian luau parties. It's really easy, so give it a try!! It might even put you in a Hawaiian mood!

Ingredients: Enough to fill one 7 x 10 inch tin

Coconut milk
1 can (400 ml)
400 ml (same amount as coconut milk)
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup)
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup)


1. Combine the coconut milk and water in a bowl and mix. Add 1/3 of this mixture to a separate bowl and mix in the cornstarch.
2. Put the remaining 2/3 of the coconut mixture in a saucepan along with the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and add the cornstarch and coconut milk mixture from Step 1.
3. Heat the batter whilst constantly stirring with a wooden spatula. Incorporate the batter that sticks to the sides of the pan. Keep stirring for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan when stirring with a wooden spatula. Once the mixture is a shiny, nice, white colour, it's ready.
4. Whilst the batter is still hot, pour it into a tin and even out the surface. Let it set at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Hau pia is usually 1.5-2 cm thick. Once set, cut into squares and serve.
5. Bonus: You could make a hau pia cream for bread or donuts by reducing the amount of cornstarch. It also makes a great cake filling!!
6. In Hawaiian "hau" means cold and "pia" is the name of a plant from which the starch used to be derived to make this dessert.
7. The pia plant is native to Polynesia, but the word "pia" can refer to katakuriko, cornstarch, or tapioca.

Story Behind this Recipe

This is the extremely popular hau pia dessert that my Aunty showed me how to make when I lived in Hawaii. Aunty used 1l coconut milk but I've adjusted it a more manageable amount for this recipe.