A vlaai is a tart that is popular at all festive occasions. Some varieties are filled with rice-pudding (rijstevlaai), others are crowned with a crumb topping (kruimelvlaai), and this one is filled with custard and ripe strawberries. Vlaai is a specialty of the province of Limburg.
For more Dutch recipes with strawberries. check out Issue 29 of Dutch the magazine…
For the pastry shell:
- ¼ cup lukewarm whole milk
- 1 ¼ tsp instant dried yeast
- ¾ cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 small egg, whisked
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
For the filling:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 5 tbsps sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ tbsps flour
- Approx. 2 ½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 4 tbsps strawberry jam
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Combine the milk with the yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Put the flour, milk and yeast mixture, sugar, whisked egg, salt and melted butter in the bowl of a mixer. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Should the dough be too wet, add in more flour a teaspoon at a time while the machine continues to run. If you don’t have a mixer, put the flour on a clean surface, make a well in the middle, add the rest of the ingredients and mix from the outside in.
- Once mixed, knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic.
- Place the dough in a floured bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- In the meantime, make your custard filling. Heat the milk, taking care not to let it boil. It should not bubble over!
- Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla seeds, sugar and salt until creamy. Do this by hand as you don’t want volume in the mixture.
- Whisk in the flour.
- Add the milk in small quantities while whisking.
- Transfer the mixture to a pan. Cook while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and stirring more vigorously when the mixture starts to thicken. Continue stirring for 4-6 minutes, or until the custard is thick.
- Allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 390ºF.
- Grease and flour a 9-inch pie pan.
- Take the dough out of the bowl, place on a well-floured surface and roll out to a large circle, a little bigger than the circumference of the pan. Place it into the pan, trimming off any excess. Prick the surface with a fork.
- Pour the custard into the pan.
- Bake the vlaai for 20 minutes until set. If the crust is browning too much halfway through, cover with aluminum foil.
- Allow to cool and top with the strawberries.
- Melt the strawberry jam in a pan. Brush over the berries for a nice sheen.
- Serve with whipped cream if desired.
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