Limburg cherry crumble flan (Limburgse kersen kruimel vlaai)


Doesn’t it piss you off when a recipe book can’t do the basic thing they are meant to do, and enable you to recreate it?

Well, they have excelled themselves in the Dutch Cooking Today cookbook and got the proportions so out of whack, that I have finally decided to rewrite the recipe after testing it about half a dozen times and finally getting the proportions right. If it works well, this cake is simply delicious. I took one to my friend Stephanie’s, along with a Dutch apple pie, and although she normally isn’t into this sort of cake, she tried it to be nice. Happy to say, she was on the end of it!

So, if you want to be on the end of it, don’t refer to the cook book.

Oh, the other thing I love about this flan is that it is from the region of Holland that my father is from – Limburg. They specialise in flan (called vlaai in Dutch), and the Rijste vlaai (Rice flan) is particularly good. It’s basically a flan base with rice pudding on it, baked. Delish. You can get a million different types of flan, and if you wish, you can substitue the cherries for other fruits (plums, apricots, summer fruits) and you can vary the base from custard to rice pudding as well. The crumble is not common on all types of flan.

So, to get you started, here’s a cherry crumble flan. Hope you enjoy!

The base


  • 50g butter, melted
  • 250g plain flour
  • 25g raw sugar
  • 1 dessert spoon of  dried yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml tepid milk

What you will need

  • Mixer with a dough hook or food processor
  • A warm spot to prove the dough.

What to do

  1. Using a food processor or mixer, combine the ingredients and mix until you get a smooth and elastic dough. Add more milk if necessary to ensure the dough is smooth and elastic, but not sticky.
  2. Take out and knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes.
  3. Place in a bowl, cover with cling wrap, and rest in a warm place for 45 mins. I sit mine in the oven at 30 degrees celsius.

The custard


  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 1 litre of milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of custard powder
  • 50g butter

What you will need

  • A saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixer with beater

What to do

  1. Heath the milk and vanilla pod and simmer for 10 minutes to extract the vanilla flavour.
  2. Remove the vanilla pod and scrape out the beans and return to the milk.
  3. In the mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until creamy
  4. Add the custard powder to the egg mixture and beat until smooth.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of the hot milk/vanilla to the egg yolk mixture and combine.
  6. Add the remaining egg & custard mixture into the hot milk
  7. Return to the heat and continue stirring until the custard thickens.
  8. Away from the heat, add the 50g of butter and mix.
  9. Allow to cool.



  • 700g jar of morello cherries or fresh cherries pitted
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of wild fruit or blackberry jam (I used homemade blackberry jam from Dad’s berry’s in the Otways)

What you will need:

  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl
  • 28-30 cm flan dish
  • Rolling pin
  • Floured surface

What to do:

  1. Heat the oven (make sure you remove the dough) to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Drain the cherries in a sieve.
  3. Add cherries to a bowl and combine with the jam.
  4. Grease the flan dish
  5. Roll out the dough until about 1/2 cm thick.
  6. Line the dish with the dough, and press firmly into the rim.
  7. Spread the cooled custard over the base and arrange the cherries on top.

The crumble


  • 125g plain flour
  • 75g sugar
  • 75g butter

What you will need

  • A mixing bowl

What to do

  1. Cut the butter into pieces in a bowl, with the sugar and flour
  2. Rub together with the tips of your fingers until you have a crumbly dough.
  3. Sprinkle the crumble over the custard filling
  4. Cook in the lower part of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown and cooked.
  5. Allow to cool in the tin.
This dessert tastes better cold, and served with a dollop of cream or a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Some variations

  • Substitute plums or apricots for the cherries.
  • Make a nut topping by adding 50g of finely chopped hazelnuts to the crumble mix.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Duncan Chew says:

    You know I love this… I’m going to have to play with this recipe. Thinking blood plums when they come back into season. Another variation would be some orange zest into the custard, cardamom with the crumble baked with the plums. Oh, pears would work! Thinking peaches too… damn, it’s just gone breakfast and I’ve got a taste for flan 🙂


    1. Geri says:

      Duncan…a man after my own heart. In Limburg, they have every type of flan, and Plum is definitely in there, with a dusting of icing sugar over the custard and plums. Yummo. Happy to quality control taste if you feel the need to experiment! Just saying.


  2. Johanna says:

    I was visiting Limburg to see Andre Rieu’s show on our way we sropped at Valkenburg and at a Café we had Coffee and Vlaai cake I was overwhelmed because in South Africa we have a tart called “melk tert” anything with a milk/custard filling I love, I can really say I so enjoyed the Vlaai tart Well Done Limburg.


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