The Famous Livestream Vlaai

During our 2022 livestream, people went absolutely wild over the “vlaai” we were eating. By popular demand, we provide you with the recipe for this wonderful Dutch pie!

What is "vlaai"?

There is no direct translation for the Dutch word “Vlaai”. It is a regional kind of tart, dating back from the 16th century most comparable to flan, and are mostly home to the Flemish and Dutch provinces of Limburg. Their ease of creation and wide appeal has however popularized them across the entirety of Flanders and the Netherlands and a lot of regions have since created their own variation on the classic vlaai. 

It is said a vlaai must be “dun van leer en dik van smeer” which means the dough must be fairly thin in comparison to the filling. Because that’s essentially what makes a vlaai; a round pie filled with usually fruit. But today we are taking a look at the ‘rijstevlaai’, which is a variant filled with rice. The rijstevlaai is immensely popular due to the pleasant texture, sweet and milky taste and ease of digestibility. It should come as no surprise this version of vlaai is loved by children.

This specific recipe was created by my father, who passed it on to us. It is impossible to remember a birthday where he did not bake rijstevlaai and his version was so popular amongst our friends and family, people would rather have him bake a vlaai than receive a present.

Equipment

  • A springform pan, 26-30cm. Usually specialised vlaai pans are used to create vlaai, which are fairly wide (30-32cm) and fairly low. If you happen to have a 12-inch quiche pan laying about, it would be best to use this instead as it is the most comparable to a vlaai pan
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A small mixing bowl
  • Wisk
  • +2L cooking pan

Ingredients

  •  185g flour
  • 2g instant yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 120g sugar
  • 1 liter milk
  • 100g dessert rice (here we use Lassie dessert rice most commonly but any rice viable to make rice pudding should work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 recipe for custard (you want between 350 and 450g worth of custard. Fully homemade or premade is up to you)
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar

Recipe

  1. Heat 75ml of the milk until its lukewarm
  2. Line the baking pan with baking paper and grease the edges
  3. Mix the sifted flour, yeast, salt, butter, 20 grams of the sugar, the warmed milk and about half an egg with dough hooks until it has become a smooth ball of dough. Do not bother letting the dough rise; you do not want excessively puffy dough with a vlaai. Though it is no doubt the less adventurous option, you can also simply use ready made white bread dough mix instead. 
  4. Roll out the dough to a very thin sheet. with vlaai typically speaking thinner is better. 
    • quiche or vlaai pan: drape the sheet over the edges of the pan, letting the sheet slide into shape, before rolling over the edges to cut away excess dough. 
    • springform pan: carefully drop the sheet into the pan and try to shape edges of about 3-4cm in height. If it isn’t perfectly equal this is fine, you should have about a centimeter of clearance with this. Then use a fondant smoother if available to fully flatten the bottom and create perfect corners in the edges.
  5. Create the custard by whatever method you prefer and pour it, still warm, into the pan. A skin might end up forming, this is of no consequence. Put the pan aside.
  6. Seperate the other egg. cream the eggyolk with 50g of the sugar and the packet of vanilla sugar.. Thoroughly clean your wisk. In a different bowl, beat the eggwhite along with the rest of the sugar into a stiff meringue. Set both aside.
  7. Put on the oven at 210 C. This is for a convection oven, if you use top-bottom heat, 220C may be better. 
  8. Pour all the milk you didn’t use (or 900ml if you used a white bread mix) into a medium pan with at least 2L capacity, and add in the rice. While continuously stirring. Turn up the heat very high and quickly bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat to a stable boil and throw in the creamed egg yolk. Keep stirring the milk for the next 15 minutes. Do not neglect stirring. If you do not stir while it is heating up to a boil, parts of the rice will be burned and stick to the pan. If you do not stir pretty much every moment while the milk is boiling, it will very quickly overcook and cover your entire stove with boiling milk.
  9. Pour 3/4 of the mix into the pan. Pour the remainder into the merengue you made and beat together. Pour this mixture , carefully and evenly, over the entire surface of the rice center. 
    • Its best to have more than 1/4 than less. Too much merengue will not only make it difficult to evenly spread, but may also result in the surface getting burned.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes
    • The rice will brown incredibly fast. This is normal, don’t panic, and definitely don’t cover the top with aluminum foil
    • The rice center will rise quite a bit. This, again, is normal, and it will even out again once its out of the oven.