This flan like pie is called vlaai in Flemish and is made with leftover speculoos, gingerbread and milk. This sugar explosion is traditionally made all over East Flanders but I know it from my hometown Ghent of course: Gentse vlaai.
It’s a simple bake with 5 shop-bought ingredients (or home made) and uses up stale cookies and cake to make a new dessert. Talk about zero-waste back in the days!
As part of a series of Belgian dishes posted every first Wednesday of the month, I vow to demystify these uber Belgian classics for you. Step-by-step I will show you what to do, this will have you successfully recreate those gorgeous rustic Belgian flavours you discovered in Belgium.
My father loved a piece of vlaai and I recall one of the wives of his cycling club used to make it for him from time to time. I must say I am also found of it but it is rare to find it in bakeries or served in restaurants so I make it myself. Truth to be said this is a farmers pudding so I don’t expect restaurants to serve it. Almost all my Belgian friends have a very fond memory of eating this when they were kids. It is too bad when bakes like this disappear as they are considered old fashioned. I am all for the revival of the old!
Belgian Classics: flan pie from Ghent
Yield 1 pie
- 300 gr gingerbread
- 300 gr speculoos
- 750 ml whole milk
- 1 egg and 1 yolk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 50 gr dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 table spoon butter
- Crack the egg in a small bowl, add the yolk, whip it loose with a fork, add a splash of milk and the cornstarch. Mix well to combine.
- Crumble the gingerbread and speculoos in a cast-iron pan, add the milk, the sugar and spices.
- Add the egg mixture to the gingerbread mixture and mix to combine.
- Over moderate heat cook while stirring cook for 15 minutes till bubbling. Remove from heat and blend with plunge blender till smooth.
- Pour into buttered dish and bake in the pre-heated oven at 180 C for 40 -45 minutes.
- Remove, let cool down and serve. Keep in fridge to store.
on www.leeksandhighheels.com by Sandra Slawinski
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals. I used my vintage plates, fork, towel and bowl from Dille & Kamille.