Vanilla Bean Haupia Coconut Pudding with Caramelized Plantains


Vanilla Haupia Coconut Pudding with Caramelized Plantains

In her retirement, my mom’s taking a painting class for seniors. Tonight she sent a group text to my brother, his fiancée, Lucas, and me asking us which of her new paintings we wanted to hang on our wall, with three pictures: an abstract teal and orange leafy painting, our ‘it’s a girl’ sonogram print-out, and some acrylic rustic onions. I inquired, “did you paint our baby’s vagina?” and without pause, Alexis replied, “we’ll take the baby vagina painting. Or the onions will work too :)” Only good things come from group texts with my mom.

Definitely the only time it’s ever appropriate to text a picture that can be described as “baby vagina.”

Ripe Plantains

With my mom in tow for the appointment, we got double confirmation at our 20 week ultrasound last Thursday that #cheesebabygirl is indeed very much a girl. She’s right on target for head and tummy measurements but her limbs are measuring 3 weeks longer. String cheese! Head to toe, she’s approximately the size of a large plantain – 10½ inches long. So fried sweet plantains with fall spices it is!

Caramelized Plantains

A ton has been brewing over here and I’ll spill more details in the coming weeks. Since you last heard from me, though, we’ve been to two more weddings and a whole lot more open houses. We finished binge-watching Gilmore Girls, and finally got our laundry folded and put away just in time for three fresh loads to replace it on the futon while we binge watch Project Runway. Priorities.

Vanilla Haupia Coconut Pudding with Caramelized Plantains

Most importantly though, I went through multiple batches of haupia just to perfect its creamy pudding texture. It’s pure gold now. I first ate haupia when the Hawaiian pastor sharing my table at the Soy and Tofu Dessert Competition Semi-Finals earlier this year served up strawberry soy coconut haupia squares as his entry. I snagged his winning recipe and used it as inspiration for my own haupia pudding. Don’t be skerd – haupia is an impressive dessert that’s probably the easiest pudding you’ll ever make. 

Vanilla Haupia Coconut Pudding with Caramelized Plantains

This version is flecked with vanilla bean and topped with roasty sweet caramelized plantains spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. When ultra-brown and way past the point where you’d have thrown out a banana, plantains are just hitting their peak sweetness. If there’s one pairing I’m certain about it’s coconut and anything from the banana family (coconut banana nut muffins anyone?).

Vanilla Haupia Coconut Pudding with Caramelized Plantains

For some haupia food porn – check out Alana’s Haupia Ube Cheesecake and Alanna’s Hibiscus Rhubarb + Haupia. Drool.

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Vanilla Bean Haupia Coconut Pudding with Caramelized Plantains
Yields: 4 servings
For the Haupia Pudding
  • 1-2/3 cups full-fat coconut milk (1 14.5-ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • ½ vanilla bean seeds and pod
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
For the Caramelized Plantains
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large ripe but firm plantain, sliced at an angle into ¼-inch thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Haupia Pudding
  1. Combine the coconut milk, coconut cream, and vanilla bean seeds and pod in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until just steamy, but not yet boiling, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Remove the vanilla bean pods and stir in the sugar and salt. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking slowly, until the sugar dissolves and the milk begins to boil, about 3 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the pot and cook, whisking, until the pudding thickens to the consistency of runny yogurt, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour the pudding into four dessert cups and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
For the Caramelized Plantains
  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the plantains in a single layer and cook until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Flip the plantains and cook for an additional minute. Add the sugar, spices, vanilla, and remaining two tablespoons of butter, and gently stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook until the sugar begins to caramelize, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve on top of chilled haupia pudding.

Here’s an up-to-date list of the baby-by-food sizes so far:

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  1. Cindy says:

    I’ve never had haupia but I like the look of it! When I had my 20-week appointment with Casper he was peeing on the ultrasound! It’s probably one of our favorite memories from my pregnancy because it’s just so ridiculous!

  2. As wrong as it feels to talk about #cheesebabygirl’s vagina, it’s also WONDERFUL to learn that … um… she has one. So, yay! And yay for haupia! I’m a huge fan! xoxo

  3. Wendi says:

    These look fabulous! I’ve never tried haupia – but I’m thinking it might be time to! Thanks for teaching me something new!

  4. Annie says:

    Wow!! Who knew plantains could be so elegant?! This looks so lovely!

  5. Congrats on the baby girl! What a lucky little babe-with a belly full of coconut haupia :)

  6. Your mom sounds so adorable. And congratulations on the news! So happy for you. And can you come over to my place and we can make fun treats like this pleaseee?

  7. Sheri says:

    This looks so yummy and now I know what those plantains were doing on your counter!

  8. Congratulations! And hilarious text messaging! I have never had plantains but I definitely need to. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. annie says:

    Coconutty pudding, sign me up! And I am all about caramelized plantains. I don’t know why I don’t make them more often…probably because I would stuff myself silly. These are wonderful!

  10. todd wagner says:

    I can’t wait for #stringcheesebaby to look back at these posts when she’s a teenager!! LOL. In the meantime, I already got her first Halloween costume picked out:

    Audrey and I are definitely gonna give this one a go. Looks absolutely too delicious to pass up. You caramelized those plantains to perfection!

    p.s. project runway talk soon?

  11. Sarah, that looks delicious! I’ve never had haupia but looks so good with those bananas on top! will email you soon!

  12. This is like, one of the yummiest things ever, and I know because caramelized plantains are one of those things I daydream about quite often…’s so unforgettably good, y’know?? And how did I know you were going to have a girl?!!! Hehe, seriously soooo happy that you’re having a girl! Either is good of course, but a girl is truly loads of fun and the sweet, angelic love you get from her (sometimes Selah’s so scary I wonder if she’s my child 0_0) is one of the greatest blessings. And lol, string cheese made me uhhhh laugh out loud. Can’t wait to hear more from ya, friend! Love you and take care, m’kay??

  13. Sweet plantains are my everything… then you went ahead and put them with coconut milk?! You’re killing me, this is all of my favorites in one, delish!!

  14. I love these baby food comparisons with recipes! Wasn’t the 20-week ultrasound wonderful? I think it was my favorite appointment, just having the reassurance everything is going well and getting to see that cute little baby is everything. I’ve been mildly obsessed with plantains since my first trip to the Caribbean when I was in high school, but for some reason rarely cook with them. I literally want to inhale this pudding and those caramelized gems!

  15. Congratulations on your baby girl!! Must be such an exciting time for you :) and those coconut pudding look incredible – I have never heard of haupia but with all that coconut going on it must be a good thing! Super tropical with the caramelised plantains too <3

  16. You totally kill me Sarah. I am so super excited for you and Lucas and these recipes relating to the size of the baby are pure genius. Now this pudding – I say YES to. Plantains are always a good thing!

  17. cynthia says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m clearly playing catch-up on your lovely blog — YAY FOR ALL OF THIS, Sarah!!!!!!! YAY for #cheesebabygirl (best hashtag ever), so SO happy for you!! As for these beautiful haupia plaintain puddings, oh my gosh — haupia is one of my favorite things ever and I can only imagine how great it is with those fall-spiced plaintains on top. So much joy for all of this!

  18. Can’t believe it’s 20 weeks already!! Good to know #cheesebabygirl is going strong! Your group texts with your mom are HI-larious!

    I’ve never tried haupia before, but I’m such a fan of coconut-based puddings, I’m sure this will go down so well in my kitchen. Love the pairing of the caramelized plantains!

    P.S. I’m watching Project Runway right now.

  19. I mean, your mom painted your SONOGRAM. That’s the cutest thing ever. I think your sister-in-law has the right selection idea.

    (I’m still on Season 1 of Gilmore Girls. #slacker)

  20. Sarah! A girl – so so so exciting! Your baby is definitely made of lots of delicious foods hahah. This pudding looks so much like rice pudding, but creamier? Gah I bet it’s amazing! I’ve never had sweet plantains but I know they’re amazing when fried so they’re salty and crunchy, and dipped in spicy sauce (that was actually an appetizer at my friend’s wedding in Jamaica – so good). There are so many of your recipes on my “must make” list! xo

  21. Mira says:

    Your group texts are hilarious! Glad your baby girl is doing ok and growing! Never had haupia, but it sounds delicious!

  22. Such a sweet inspiration for this recipe! Haupia is new to me, but I’ve gotta try it. The texture, and flavors sound quite enticing! Coconut with banana, ooohhhh and that vanilla bean… I’ll take it! Congrats on your news, Sarah!

  23. Rachel says:

    So, this post is a pretty big deal for me considering I am downright obsessed with plantains. These look to-die for and I seriously wish I could reach through the monitor and try one. I will definitely have to try making them soon!


  24. Anita says:

    I just made some Indonesian coconut pudding with mung bean flower. Take a look if you like.

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