Whether you enjoy hot and messy chocolate drenched fudge brownies, refreshing sorbet, strawberry cheesecake, or a classic vanilla ice cream cone, dessert is always the best part of any meal. I asked a few of my Maui foodie friends for their favorite sweet-tooth quenching treats to share with readers. You are going to want to save room for dessert! The list starts off with the flight over if you are lucky enough to be in first class on Hawaiian Airlines. Don’t miss the Lilikoi Crunch Cake which is part of their Featured Chef Series, Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe and Hale Ohuna has created this dessert that is a perfect complement to the local cuisine she features - including Okinawa Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Ravioli and Guava Shoyu Kalbi Short Ribs. I’ll be adding to this list but as of now, these are the not-to-miss desserts on Maui. Did we miss your favorite dessert? Let us know and email mimi@HawaiiIslander.com.
Ko at Fairmont Kea Lani has their Wailea Estate chocolate custard. You can also opt to get the custard served over some of their other desserts, such as the organic coconut gelato, or their lime pie for a chocolaty finish. And then at the same property, Nick's Fishmarket is known for their strawberries panzini, Kula strawberries with caramel and brown sugar and creme.
Make Your Own Sundae On Market Night at Duo at the Four Seasons Maui. Start by choosing from two freshly-churned ice cream flavors, generously served up in a homey mason jar. The toppings include favorites such as, coconut shavings, warmed hot fudge, freshly whipped cream, minced macadamia nuts and cherries.
Bistro Molokini at the Grand Wailea, has scrumptious ono gelato in vanilla bean or chocolate. Their banana splits are huge, and are served in half a pineapple.
Humu Pie at Humunukuapua at the Grand Wailea, takes the traditional mud pie to another level. Perfect for a pair to split, especially as the sun fades into Wailea Bay. The Humu Pie is layered with Lappert’s Macadamia Nut and Kona Coffee ice cream on a bed of crushed Oreo cookies and topped with a chocolate tiki.
Strawberry Cream Pie at Monkeypod Kitchen, filled with fresh berries and rich cream, this is an instant classic. They also have chocolate, banana and coconut cream pie.
Best dessert (and most popular) at Sarento's on the Beach are their profiteroles (3 pastries with ice cream in the middle). The delicate and flaky pastry combined with the rich and decadent cream is a yummy and quick dessert for being on the go.
Malasadas at Ka'ana Kitchen made by Chef Isaac. These traditional Portuguese pastries are made out of yeast dough and deep fried to a golden brown and coated in sugar.
Manoli's Pizza Company has their signature Holy Manoli. This is a huge chocolate chip cookie served in a skillet with vanilla ice cream and cookie crumbles on top.
Shave Ice. There are so many options on Maui, but Shave Ice tastes the best after a hot day at the beach. For Makena Beach goers, try the Jawz Fish Tacos food truck, with two convenient roadside locations near Big Beach. Choose up to 3 flavors and don’t forget a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom.
Coconut Cake at Tommy Bahama’s. Comes topped with diced pineapple and Meyer’s dark rum drizzle with a white chocolate mousse filling. They also have Pina Colada Cake topped with the same additions.
Ono Gelato. This gelato is made in the traditional Italian style but features fresh local ingredients and island-inspired flavors to put a new twist in frozen treats. Local favorites include: the Ono Sandy Beach with peanut butter gelato layered with graham cracker crumble and Maui-made coconut candy, the Hawaiian Hottie with chocolate gelato infused with cinnamon and spicy Hawaiian chilies, and the Surfing Goat Quark with quark cheese gelato and fresh fruit. Want a non-dairy option? Try one of their homemade sorbets such as Island Passion with passion fruit, orange and guava sorbetto or Kiui Sunset with kula strawberry, blueberry and orange creamsicle sorbettos swirled together.
Cafe Des Amis on Baldwin Ave, serves up Chocolate Banana and Lemon Sugar Crepes. These french inspired crepes are stuffed with bananas, chocolate, toffee sauce and cream. The lemon and sugar crepe is a lighter option, but still retains its sweet and sugary flavor with fresh lemon or lime and Maui cane sugar sprinkled on top.
Mama’s Fish House. For a decadant dessert opt for the Polynesian Black Pearl at this oceanfront eatery. It comes with lilikoi'i mousse in a chocolate pastry seashell, or you can get liliko'i creme brûlée. The Kuau Chocolate Pie is a great chocolate fix and is baked in a caramel cookie crust.
A passionfruit that is endemic to Hawaii, Lilikoi can often be found as a main ingredient in many Hawaiian summer cocktails. In this case, the fruit not only flavors the cream on on the cake, but also colors is a brilliant purple hue as well. If you are on the road and want to bring a yummy snack for the trip, try banana bread. Hana Farms is known for their hand-crafted banana bread, with fresh hand picked ingredients. The moist bread is filled with chunks of banana and berries and is topped with tropical fruit jam and a crunchy raw sugar cane crust.
Mana Foods. The coconut Kiefer with vanilla ice cream made by Maka. All of their baked goods Pono Pies at Mana are made by John Cadman. Filled to the brim (or in this case crust) with breadfruit or taro the pies are a good gluten-free or vegan option. Pono Pies are becoming a big craze on Maui.
Glossary of Desserts:
Here are popular Hawaiian desserts to look for on menus - they can originate from all over the Pacific, however have found a home here in the islands.
Malasada: Originally made in Portugal, this egg shaped confection is traditional eaten on Terca-feira Gorda, also know as "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras. The pastries are deep fried in oil and then coated in sugar. Malasada's made their way to Hawaii through the "Shove Tuesday" (Malasada Day) tradition, which dates back to the 19th century when sugar cane plantains thrived and were used to make this age old dessert, that was to be eaten before Lent.
Mochi: A traditional Japanese dessert, Mochi is a round sticky rice cake with ice cream filling. Mochi can come in many different flavors, however the most popular flavors include green tea, kona coffee and plum wine.
Passion Fruit aka lilikoi: Passion fruit is grown mostly in tropical areas such as Brazil and Hawaii. It has a fleshy purple skin and has a soft and sweet interior. Often used in other desserts or with other fruits to provide more flavor.
Guava: This is yet another common tropical fruit, and has a lemon looking rind, but with a sweet and juicy taste.
Haupia: This is a traditional Hawaiian dessert and has a coconut-milk base. It is usually served in squares, similar to gelatin. However, it also served on the top of cakes for a sweet bonus of flavor.
Kulolo: Probably one of the least recognized luau dishes, but for me, one of the most prized and favorite dishes. You don’t find kulolo very often and definitely not at your typical tourist type luaus. Kulolo is a traditional Hawaiian pudding made from taro, coconut milk and brown sugar. It is cooked/steamed for hours traditionally in the imu or underground oven, but modern day versions use steaming or baking.