The dinner I cooked for Clayton when he visited had to contain something Dutch. After some thinking, I came up with Limburgse abrikozenvlaai, a tart from the province of Limburg that is made with a yeasted dough. I already wrote about kersenvlaai (with cherries) a while ago. Since it’s summer, fresh apricots are available. The apricots are cooked before they are used in the vlaai.
A vlaai is best when eaten very fresh, but this tart is so delicious it won’t be a problem to finish it quickly.
250 grams (1 1/2 cups) cake flour
15 grams (.5 oz) fresh yeast, or 5 grams (1 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
20 grams (1 1/2 Tbsp) butter plus more for buttering the pie shape
100 ml (7 Tbsp) milk
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp crushed amaretti cookies, or breadcrumbs
For the filling
1 kg (2.2 lbs) fresh apricots
60 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
juice of 1 lemon
1 egg white
2 Tbsp coarsely granulated sugar
Heat the milk in the microwave oven just to lukewarm. Add the yeast and sugar and stir.
Combine the flour, butter, egg yolk, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and start mixing on low speed. Add the milk mixture slowly.
Keep mixing until the dough comes together. It may be needed to add a bit of additional milk.
Fit with the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes on medium speed.
The dough should have the consistency of fresh pasta dough (smooth and elastic, not sticky).
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. The best place for this is inside a closed oven with only the light turned on.
Meanwhile, put the apricots in a saucepan, add the lemon juice, and barely cover with water.
Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Drain the apricots after cooking, reserving 500 ml (2 cups) of the cooking liquid.
Remove the pits from the apricots. They should be so soft that you can easily break the apricots in half with your fingers and then remove the pits. If needed you can remove the skin as well.
Put the reserved apricot cooking liquid back into the saucepan.
Dissolve the corn starch in about 3 Tbsp of cold water and add this to the saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring, and cook for 30 seconds or so until it becomes thick.
Add the apricots, stir, and allow to cool to room temperature.
Reserve a third of the dough for the top of the tart and wrap it in plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 200C/390F (static) or 180C/350F (fan). Put an oven proof dish with about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of water in the oven.
Roll out the dough for the bottom to a circle of about 32 cm (13″), big enough to cover your pie shape.
Butter a 27 cm (11″) pie shape and put the dough in the pie shape. Puncture it here and there with a fork.
Sprinkle with crushed amaretti (or breadcrumbs). Breadcrumbs are more traditional, but amaretti have a nicer flavor and they are used in Italy for the similar crostata di albicocche (which is however made with pastry dough rather than yeasted dough).
Add the apricot mixture and level it out.
Roll out the dough for the top, cut it in strips of about 1.25 cm (1/2″) wide and use it to cover the vlaai with a lattice pattern.
Beat the egg white until foamy. Brush the top of the vlaai with the egg white.
Sprinkle the top of the vlaai with
Bake for about 25 minutes at 200C/390F (static oven) or 180C/350F (fan).
Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
To allow the bottom to dry, if you dare you can carefully remove the vlaai out of the pie shape as soon as it has cooled off enough for you to handle, and allow to cool to room temperature on a rack.
Vlaai is often eaten with coffee or tea in the Netherlands. If you are serving it for dessert instead and you’d like to add a dessert wine, moscato d’asti is the way to go.
22 thoughts on “Apricot Tart (Limburgse Abrikozenvlaai)”
The last picture is just amazing! I’m sure it tasted just as good.
Thanks for visiting and leaving such a nice comment!
A beautiful dessert. Our season for apricots was in July and the season is so quick for fresh apricots. We definitely appreciate them when we get them!
Thanks. I’ll have to remember to link to it earlier in summer next year.
Good idea. 🙂
It cannot be any better than this demonstration. Just beautiful!
Thanks, Fae 🙂
It was not only beautiful to look at, but also a scrumptious piece of tart (art) to sink our teeth into. We continued to talk about it days later. “We should have had more helping before we left to catch the last train to Amsterdam.” At least for now we have the recipe to one day remember part of a wonderful evening with you and Kees. Thank you, Stefan.
You are very welcome, Clayton. It was a pleasure to have you and Paul as our guests.
What does the yeast do in the pie crust, since the dough doesn’t rise? Beautiful dessert!
Hi Mimi, you are correct there is no final proofing stage before baking, but there is a first rise and the dough does rise when it bakes. In the photo you can see the crust has risen above the edge of the pie dish.
Fantastic looking pie and I am also shamed by the amazingly clean condition of your oven – I could never do a shot like that. Mine contains blackened things which I cannot let the world see
My oven is self-cleaning, that’s why it still looks so clean after 11 years of regular use. It heats up to 500C/900F to clean itself. This is called pyrolitic cleaning.
Great looking tart, Stefan. It would make a fine ending to any dinner party and I read how much your guest appreciated it. Well done. 🙂 At the farmers market this morning, apricots were still available but there were signs above stating there’d be no more till next year. Time is marching on …
That is a work of art my friend! Wow! You should print that picture and frame it!
Thanks, you’re too kind 🙂
Reading the recipe for “vlaai”/ “vla” made me pine for my mother’s creations. Hers also included plum vla, a visual delightful delectable.
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I’m sorry to have to tell you that this was absolutely horrible. Where do I begin?
I have fresh apricots off my tree. Simmering them for ten minutes was wrong. They turned into liquid apricots. I had to throw the mixture out.
I decided to use the frozen sliced and pitted apricots I had already frozen, by dipping the entire freezer bag into boiling water, for one minute. They were perfect.
The amount of cornstarch mixed with water did not thicken the apricot liquid enough. It needs to be doubled.
Putting yeast in the pastry dough was a mistake. A waste of time and work, using my stand mixer and letting the dough rise. The pastry tasted like bread. It is best to just use your favourite pie crust recipe.
The almond cookie crumbs could not even be tasted.
The amount of sugar—especially for my fresh apricots—was not nearly enough. I needed triple the amount because my apricots were very tart.
My suggestion is to use a standard pie crust recipe, at least doubling the sugar for the recipe, and at least doubling the amount of cornstarch.
I’m sorry your apricots were different from the ones I used.
The dough is supposed to be like that, almost like bread. Otherwise it isn’t vlaai. If you use a pie crust, it will become like an Italian crostata.