(Limburg Pies)

Vlaai (pronounced like fly with a "v" instead of an "f") is a traditional pie or
tart from the Province of Limburg in the southern part of the Netherlands.

There are many varieties -- rice, cherry, white chocolate, apple and rum,
crumb, gooseberry, kruimel etc-- one of the most popular types is apricot.

Sift 500 grams (4 cups) of flour with a pinch of salt into a large mixing
bowl.   Warm 1/5 dl (2/3 cup) of milk.   Cream 20 g (3/4 oz) of fresh yeast
with the milk in a small bowl.   Leave in a warm place until it becomes

Make a hollow in the mound of flour and pour in the creamed yeast. Stir
the yeast mixture into the flour.   Add 1 large beaten egg, 100 g (1/2 cup)
melted butter and 100 g (1/2 cup) of sugar and knead to a soft dough
which easily comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover the container with a damp cloth and
leave for about 1 hour in a warm place until the dough is well risen.
Preheat the oven to 230 C (450 F).

Lightly grease two large, flat flan tins. Knead the risen dough on a lightly
floured work surface and use it to line the flan tins. Cover the dough with
about 900 g (2 lbs) of apricot compote and garnish with 16 apricot halves,
fresh or tinned (the former being preferable, of course). Bake for 15-25
minutes in the center of the oven. Cool the vlaai on a wire tray and serve
with whipped cream if desired.

This special vlaai can also be decorated with a trellis work of pastry. Use
slightly less dough for the base of the vlaai and cover the fruit compote
with a trellis work of pastry strips, approximately 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Use
apple or cherry compote as a filling instead of apricots, if desired, and if
fresh fruit is not available, use a commercial fruit pie filling.