Hello. My name is Bonnie and I’m a chocoholic.
It was destined to happen – my mother consumed some form of this delectable treat everyday of her pregnancy with me. My fate was being written with each chocolate doughnut she vowed she wouldn’t eat…but did.
However, now and then I feel the need to broaden my dessert horizons – not everyone likes chocolate. (It’s a fact – I looked it up!)
I decided to make haupia – a coconut jello-like pudding, in memory of my Tahitian dancing days. As with most ethnic groups, food plays a central role in the Polynesian world. The first potluck I attended, I was asked to bring haupia. Not realizing there was such a thing as canned coconut milk, I actually bought coconuts, cracked them open, removed the meat, and made my own coconut milk. It took hours of life threatening work with a hammer and a sharp knife. The haupia was delicious, but definitely not worth the effort. Years later, I saw canned coconut milk in the market. It was a slap-palm-to-forehead moment.
In keeping with my portion control doctrine (everyone over 40 knows why), I made the haupia in custard cups. One cup = one portion. No nibbling those odd pieces in the pan that “no one else will eat and it’s sinful to waste.” Just to add a little substance, I poured the haupia over macadamia nut shortbread. And, then, because I can never let things alone, I made a mango sauce topping.
The mango sauce was delicious and extremely pretty, but I confess I prefer HAUPIA & MACADAMIA SHORTBREAD CUPS sprinkled with just some toasted chopped macadamia nuts. Without the scene-stealing mango, the flavor of the toasted macadamia nuts bursts forth, complementing the subtle coconut flavor.
Topped simply with chopped toasted macadamia nuts or perked up with Mango Sauce, HAUPIA & MACADAMIA SHORTBREAD CUPS are an easy, light dessert.
NOTE: It’s important to toast the macadamia nuts – I put the word “toasted” continuously in front of the word “macadamia” to remind you (I’m a mom – it’s what we do!). Toasting brings out the flavor and gives a better crunch. Just make sure you keep an eye on them – they go from lightly browned to black in an instant.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I now use powdered coconut milk – that way I can use exactly what I need instead of opening a whole can for a small amount.
HAUPIA & MACADAMIA SHORTBREAD CUPS – makes 4 servings
Macadamia Shortbread – enough for 4 custard cups
- 3 T macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted (measure and toast after chopping)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 T sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 T butter, soft
Put toasted macadamia nuts, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Whirl until nuts are tiny bits. Add in flour, vanilla, and butter. Blend until batter is creamed.
Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
Pat dough into into the bottom of 4 ungreased custard cups (or muffin tins). It comes out to about 1 tablespoon of dough per cup. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in cups on a wire rack.
- 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk OR put ¼ cup coconut powder in measuring cup and add warm water to 1¾ cup mark
- 3 T cornstarch
- ¼ cup sugar
- dash salt
Put the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and mix. Pour in some of the coconut milk and make a smooth paste. Add in the rest of the milk and heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until the liquid is thickened – about 5 minutes total.
Pour evenly onto the shortbread in custard cups. Let cool, then refrigerate at least 5 hours to set.
Mango Sauce – optional
- ¾ cup mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
- 1½ tsp lime juice
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Purée all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Serve on top of haupia, if desired.
NOTE: If you’re using a muffin tin instead of custard cups, add the Mango Sauce after plating. To remove the HAUPIA & MACADAMIA SHORTBREAD CUPS from the tin, carefully run a dull knife around the edge, working your way to the very bottom to release the shortbread. Carefully, lift out and transfer to plate.