Dutch Cherry Pie – Kersen Vlaai

5/5 - (1 vote)

This lovely cherry pie is Dutch in origin. It uses a leavened dough as the pie crust. It has a filling made with canned cherries and a thickened syrup.

Vlaai is a pie of many varieties, but with the common link of being made with a leavened pie crust. That provides a soft crust for the pie. Most often such pies are between 10 and 12 inches in diameter(25 and 30 cm). However since I don’t have an appropriate pan of that size I decided to make mine just 9 inches(23 cm). But that is fine, I am sure. Indeed that size really suits my purpose much better.

However I did make more dough and filling than needed for a 9 inch pie, since I wanted to make a couple of smaller ones. But for this recipe, and in my video, I detail the volumes and weights of ingredients for a 9 inch pie. That is simply because most people are more likely to have pans of that size.

Simple Recipe

The recipe is actually quite simple with only three main steps. But it does take some time, since the dough has to be proofed and the filling needs to be cooled. But that is just waiting time.

Canned cherries in a light syrup are best to use for this pie. It is also necessary to ensure they are pitted cherries.

The three main steps are to make the filling. Then, when it is almost cool, make the dough and proof it. Once is has proofed the final main step is to assemble the pie.

If, by some chance you do have an 11 inch/28cm cake pan you can simply increase all the ingredients by 50% to make a pie of that size. In the photo above you can see two smaller pies. I was able to make those as i did increase my ingredients by that 50%. However, as I mentioned earlier, the ingredients below are for a 9 inch pie.

In the recipe I mention breadcrumbs to sprinkle on the base of the pie crust. However I decided not to use those. The breadcrumbs will help absorb excess liquid, but it wasn’t necessary.

My Bake

Having rolled out and assembled my pie I baked it for 25 minutes. The top browned well. If I was baking longer I would have certainly covered the top with some aluminium foil to prevent further browning.

Then, after 25 minutes I removed the pie from the oven. I allowed it to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before carefully removing it to a wire rack. The pie crust was softer than most. I used a palate knife to carefully remove it from the pan.

The I allowed the pie to cool. Of course, I should have allowed it to cool completely before slicing. But the temptation was too great. I cut a slice while it was not quite cool, so a little of the thickened syrup was not quite set. Longer would have set it.

The pie tasted so good. It was not overly sweet, but sweet enough. The crust was soft and bread-like. The filling was fruity and smooth on the tongue. Indeed it was simply very good indeed.

This pie is great as a dessert, served with some whipped cream, or some ice-cream.

Leavened Dutch Cherry Pie – Kersen Vlaai

Another lovely dessert recipe is Lemon Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone Frosting.

Dutch Cherry Pie – Kersen Vlaai

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Desserts, Pies, TartsCuisine: DutchDifficulty: Medium


Prep/Waiting180 time


Cooking time




  • Pie Filling
  • 235g(8 1/4 oz) pitted canned cherries

  • 200ml(1/2 cup + 1/3 cup) light syrup from the can of cherries

  • 47g(1/4 cup minus 1 tsp) caster sugar

  • 10-15g (1 to 1 1/2tbsp) potato starch, or tapioca starch, or arrowroot( the more you use the thicker the filling will become

  • 4ml(3/4 tsp) vanilla extract

  • 7ml(1 1/2 tsp) lemon juice

  • Pie crust
  • 200g(1 1/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 4g(1 1/4 tsp) instant yeast

  • 80ml(1/3 cup) milk

  • 13g(1 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 20g(1 1/2 tbsp) softened unsalted butter

  • 30g(2/3 of one medium) egg, use the remainder for egg wash

  • Breadcrumbs to sprinkle on the base, optional

  • Good pinch of salt

  • sugar for sprinkling(I used demerara)


  • Mix the potato starch and the sugar together.
  • Place the syrup, vanilla extract, lemon juice and the sugar/starch into a saucepan.
  • Put the pan onto the stove top and heat until just about boiling, stirring all the time.
  • When the syrup begins to boil add the cherries and, still stirring, boil rapidly for at least a minute. The cloudy appearance will turn clear and shiny.
  • Take the mixture off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  • To make the pie dough place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer( you can do everything by hand too).
  • Stir those ingredients to mix them together.
  • Add the milk and egg and beat with the dough hook until everything comes together into a shaggy dough.
  • Add the butter and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and allow it to proof in a warm place for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/330F.
  • When the dough has proofed for an hour transfer to a lightly floured surface.
  • Cut off about 1/4 of the dough and set aside.
  • Form the remaining dough into a ball and then roll it out to a diameter of 12 inches/30 cm.
  • Lift the dough and place it into a greased 9 inch/23cm shallow cake pan(about 1 1/2 inch/3 cm).
  • Press the dough against the sides.
  • Trim any excess and add to the set aside dough.
  • If using breadcrumbs sprinkle them over the base of the pan.
  • Spoon in the filling and spread it evenly across the base.
  • Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle and cut into strips for making a lattice.
  • Place the strips onto the filling, pressing into the dough on the sides, to form a lattice.
  • Brush the lattice and the edge with egg, if you wish.
  • Sprinkle some sugar over the top if you wish.
  • Bake the pie for about 25 minutes. If is it browning too quickly loosely cover with aluminium foil.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and leave in the pan for about 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • If you wish to make a larger (10 to 12 inch) pie, as is traditional in The Netherlands, increase all ingredients by 50%.

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