Strawberry and Custard Pie (Aardbeienvlaai)

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…

Serves 8


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

To serve:

  • 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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Recipe by: Paola Westbeek