Each day this week, I will be sharing one of our favorite Scandinavian recipes for the holiday season or høytiden. Yesterday, I shared our favorite cookie recipe, Nordic Almond Bars. Today, we try something a little more complicated.
For many Norwegian-American families, the biggest Christmas treat isn’t foil-wrapped chocolate or sugar-dusted cookies. It’s lefse, a simple flatbread. It is made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. It is cooked on a griddle.
Lefse are sort of like soft tortillas, made mostly out of mashed potatoes (with a little fat and flour mixed in to form a tender dough). They’re usually spread with butter and sugar, or rolled up with a bit of lingonberry jam.
When we make them, we make them by the dozens. They freeze well and are the perfect way to eat up leftovers at Thanksgiving and Christmas – we simply roll em up.
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The following recipe comes from the Sons of Norway website; lodges across North America utilize a variation of this basic recipe each year for their annual lefse and bake sales.
10 Lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled
1 Lb. Unsalted Sweetcream Butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
Electric Lefse Griddle by Bethany Housewares
Pastry Board and Cloth Set
Corrugated Wood Rolling Pin and 3-4 Rolling Pin Covers
Bring a large stock pot full of water to a boil. Cut your peeled potatoes 2-3 pieces depending on size and cook until they are tender. You may need to do multiple batches if you are using a smaller pot.
Rice the cooked potatoes into a large bowl with your potato ricer. Once you have riced all of the potatoes cover and let them cool overnight in your refrigerator.
Remove your potatoes from the refrigerator and let them warm slightly. Move approximately half of the riced potatoes to a smaller bowl. Add the flour in 1/4 cup increments, along with 1/2 stick of butter in chunks and 1 Tsp. salt. Knead the mixture until everything is well mixed. Test the consistency of your dough, you are looking for a texture similar to light pie dough. It should form into a ball without sicking to your hands and hold its shape without cracking if you press the dough ball lightly with your thumb.
If the dough feels too sticky add a little more flour, if it is too dry or is cracking when pressed add another couple pats of butter. Taste the Lefse dough as you go, it should taste like potatoes not flour. The dough should be slightly salty and buttery, but be careful not to over-do-it on the salt.
Warm your griddle to 400°F/200°C. If you are using a traditional lefse griddle remember to place it on a surface that will not be damaged by the high level of ambient heat. The heat from your lefse griddle could cause your stone counter top to crack or your laminate counter tops to delaminate. It is recommended that you use something to cover your countertop to help dissipate the heat.
Form the finished potato mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Flour a pastry board covered with a pastry cloth and rub the flour into the cloth. You want enough flour so that your lefse will not stick, but not so much that your lefse is completely covered in flour. Roll out your lefse on your pastry board until it is 1/8 inch thick. Using your lefse stick transfer the lefse to your griddle. Cook on the griddle until bubbles form and each side has browned. Place the lefse on a damp towel to cool slightly and then cover with a damp towel until ready to serve.
If you are storing the lefse, after it has cooled fold it in quarters and place 8-10 sheets into a 1 gallon freezer bag. Store in your freezer for upto 3 months. To thaw – remove from freezer, place on a plate covered with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.
Making lefse takes practice. It may be helpful to watch a video tutorial or two. I have also written a Hub Page describing the process, How to Make Lefse. Better yet – contact your local Sons of Norway lodge. They may offer classes. 🙂
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Join me tomorrow when I share our annual tradition of making Norwegian Heart-Shaped Waffles!
Looking for more inspiration for a Nordic høytiden … read my earlier posts here and here.
It’s a holiday hopscotch! Join the iHomeschool Network bloggers for more Christmas themed posts all week!
November 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm
Hope you can make it to the Portland Scan Fair Dec 5and 6th in Portland.
November 24, 2015 at 5:34 am
I wish we could but we have other plans that weekend. Perhaps in 2016 … Hugs to you, Deanne!
November 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm
Hah, didnt knew you made norwegian christmas cakes all the way over there, thats funny 🙂 Some of these recipes seem americanized. Bit more decadent than their old school counterparts, I guess thats needed to make them interesting, they arent exactly the juiciest of things, lol. Never heard of using lingonberries in lefse (which btw are usually made with flour, whereas lompe is the potato based one =) ) , nordic almond bars or even using jam in sandkaker, but is all sounds really yummie!
November 24, 2015 at 5:33 am
I believe one could roll up whatever they desire in their lefse or lompe, we even enjoy it plain at times. 🙂
November 24, 2015 at 4:26 pm
We used butter, cinnamon and sugar!
November 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm
Heading for the Scan Fair in Portland on Dec. 4th and 5th at the memorial coliseum. Will be looking forward to having some lefse and some coffee bread (Cardamon Braid) then. Can hardly wait!
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