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Purple Sweet Potato Haupia Pie (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegetarian)

I have been obsessed with purple sweet potatoes for an incredibly long time – they’re just so vibrant in colour and have the most beautiful taste and texture that I can only liken to roasted chestnuts. They are however quite hard to source within in the UK – I originally bought mine from Riverford Organic when they were in season but you can find them quite often on Ocado too. Although I have to say that the quality of Riverford’s was far superior. If you’re one of my US based readers then you’ll probably find them easy enough to source or even Okinawan sweet potatoes which will yield a more traditional result.

A Paleo take on the classic Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potato Haupia Pie – a macadamia shortbread crust, silky purple sweet potato filling, and a creamy, light haupia topping.

I really like to eat mine mashed with some coconut cream, grass-fed butter, and cinnamon but I have had my eye on a traditional Hawaiian dessert – Purple Sweet Potato Haupia Pie. It’s a pie like no other – a dreamy macadamia shortbread crust, filled with a silky smooth purple sweet potato custard, all topped with a bright white haupia pudding that is as light as a feather. Now haupia is a bit new to me, and I’m guessing it’s probably a bit new to a lot you too, but the best way to describe it is like a super refreshing Angel Delight style pudding that honestly makes the entire dessert taste a-mazing.  It’s incredibly soothing and it’s just not as heavy as whipped cream or even whipped coconut cream. This pie isn’t to be enjoyed hot – it’s to be enjoyed chilled to the bone whilst you bask in the summer sun. Or if you’re like me, whilst laying in bed watching TV and drinking a hot beverage of my choosing.

I used a combination of both macadamias and desiccated coconut for my base (along with a lot of other things) and I also used erythritol and light agave to keep the colours vivid but you can of course switch any of these up for maple or coconut sugar products. If you’re a xylitol fan you could use that too but I find it a little too cooling and melty for these kinds of desserts.


Purple sweet potatoes are pretty amazing – they obtain their vibrant and rich purple color from the phytochemical (antioxidant) anthocyanin.  Anthocyanins are known to boost cognitive function and memory, aid liver function, improve cholesterol and heart health, and even help to fight cancer and obesity – not too shabby! The anthocyanins within purple sweet potatoes are also retained after cooking too, unlike most foods! Purple sweet potatoes are also pretty low on the Glycemic Index and also are a fab source of dietary fibre, calcium, iron, and of course some good old fashioned complex carbohydrates.

Photographing this was both a dream and a nightmare – the haupia, although set, did want to eventually obey the laws of gravity and slide down onto my gorgeous board, Anya was trying get her cheeky little monkey hands into shot every 5 seconds to steal a piece, and well… I had to resist temptation up until the very end but boy was it worth it. Every bite was rich yet refreshing, and the colour was just so soothing to look at. I think next time I’ll try and make a slightly thicker haupia to see what that’s like in comparison and to be honest I really want to dabble with just making those traditional haupia pudding squares too.

But anyways enough of my unnecessary waffling, I’d really love to know what you guys think of this recipe and I’m really open to recipe suggestions for purple sweet potatoes so please do give me a shout using the comments box below.

Are you also a bit pie crazy? Why not try my Beetroot Pie with Vanilla Creme or Paleo Pecan Pie?


Purple Sweet Potato Haupia Pie (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegetarian)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A Paleo take on the classic Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potato Haupia Pie - a macadamia shortbread crust, silky purple sweet potato filling, and a creamy, light haupia topping.
Serves: 16
For the pie crust:

  • 100g macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup (roughly 50g) desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar/xylitol/erythritol
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup/light agave/1 tsp NuStevia Simple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp fine Himalayan pink salt (if coarse grind)
  • 1 tbsp macadamia/almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1-2 tsp coconut extract (if using a strong dropper bottle 40 drops/2ml)
For the filling:

  • ½ cupo/80g erythritol
  • ½ cup/100g butter (can sub for coconut manna or a 50:50 mix of cacao butter and coconut oil)
  • ¼-1/3 cup light agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed purple sweet potato (peeled, boiled until tender, and mashed)
  • ½ cup coconut cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt (if coarse grind)
For the haupia:

  • 1 can organic coconut milk (400ml/13.5 oz.)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1-2 tsp coconut extract (optional)
  • ⅓ cup erythritol
  • ⅓ cup tapioca flour/starch
Optional toppings:

  • Edible flowers
  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted, chopped macadamia nuts
  1. Start by lining a brownie tin (20cm/8"x20cm/8"x6cm/1.5") with greaseproof non-sick paper and set to one side. Be sure to give it a 2 inch over hang in case you pour in too much haupia at the end!
  2. For the base, combine all of the ingredients and process until a nice biscuit crumb like dough forms. Pour in the base mixture and 'knuckle' it in until evenly distributed. Place in the freezer until needed.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  4. In the bowl of your food processor add your butter and sugar and cream together until pale, smooth, and creamy. Run the processor and add an egg at a time being sure to scrape down the sides periodically. Next add in 1 cup of your mashed purple sweet potato, blending until smooth before adding the other half and blending again. Next add your coconut cream, vanilla extract, and Himalayan pink salt.
  5. Remove your crust from the freezer and pour over the purple sweet potato mixture, being sure not to add too much. Aim to leave ½" from the top edge of the baking tin to make room for the haupia layer.
  6. Place your pie into the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling has set and has only a slight wobble in the middle when you give it a jiggle. If the pie crust looks like it is browning too quickly create a sort of tin foil dome (shiny side up) to prevent it from burning. Once done remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once your cooked pie has cooled completely it's time to start preparing the haupia layer. Do not prepare the haupia too early or it will solidify! Place the coconut milk, water, and coconut extract into a heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk. In a small bowl mix together your erythritol and tapioca starch before adding into your liquids. Place on to a medium heat and stir constantly until it thickens to the consistency of glue. This will take about 5-10 minutes.
  8. Immediately remove from the heat and pour over your purple sweet potato layer. Place the pie into the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
  9. Once set remove from the refrigerator and slice using a hot, damp chef's knife into 16 bite sized squares. Be sure to wipe after each cut to create a clean line. Decorate the slices with edible flowers or toasted coconut and macadamia nuts if you wish and enjoy!
If you can't find purple sweet potatoes then regular ones will do the job too. Just reduce or increase the sweetness as you wish.

*All cup measurements used are UK cup measurements and so 1 cup = 250ml.
** Prep time includes 3 hour setting time.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Fresh Planet Flavor (@freshplanetflvr)
    9th May 2017 at 1:10 am

    When are you coming out with a cookbook?! All your stuff is beyond beautiful!

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