Vlaaien are a typical pie from the south of Holland, more accurately from the province of Limburg. Over eighty varieties are known: from simple fruit pies to rich creamy custard and crumble pies, some with lattice, some without. This kersenvlaai, cherry pie is a favorite and was traditionally made during the winter times when fresh fruit was hard to come by: the best cherries for this pie are the canned, sweet dark ones.
A cup of coffee and a slice of vlaai is still a traditional way of enjoying time spent with visitors or celebrating an important milestone in one's life. The dough is not the flaky pastry dough used elsewhere, but rather a yeast dough that needs to proof twice before being baked. The filling is placed on top and the whole vlaai is baked at once: only then it is allowed to carry the name Limburgse vlaai. Any vlaai that is baked first and then filled is just a vlaai.
Nowadays, Limburgse vlaai is available all throughout the country and not only in Limburg anymore. Look for a shallow pie, cut into large slices, at your local bakery places, coffee houses or pastry shops. Surely one of those 80 varieties will meet your approval!
- 250 (8.5 fl oz) gram flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 125 ml (4.2 fl oz) milk, warm
- 50 gram (1.8 oz) butter, melted
- 20 gram (0,7 oz) sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pinch of salt
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) canned cherries
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Mix the flour, yeast and the warm milk in a bowl. Let sit for five minutes, then stir in the butter, the sugar, half of the egg, and the salt. Knead into a soft dough, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.
Drain the cherries and collect the liquid, you should have approximately 350 ml (12 fl oz) if possible. Use two tablespoons of juice to stir with the cherry juice. Heat the rest of the juice in a saucepan, stir in the cornstarch mix and bring to a boil. Stir until the sauce thickens and carefully fold in the canned cherries. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) . Roll the dough into a circle and line the buttered pie pan with it. Cover the dough and set aside in a warm spot until it’s puffy, probably 15 minutes. Use the tines of a fork to prick holes in the bottom, sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and cover with the cherries. Use the rest of the egg to brush the rim of the vlaai.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool and decorate with whipped cream, if desired.