Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Guest Blog: Thanksgiving Lefse

Hello Apron Adventurers! Lindsay was nice enough to ask me to write up a post about the traditional Made lefse for thanksgivingNorwegian flat bread I contributed to our duplex thanksgiving this year, so here it is kids. Enjoy!

Part of my family's tradition for both thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for about as long as I can remember has been the making and eating of Lefse. Lefse originates in Norway, and is about the only thing I can show for my 1/16th Norwegian heritage, but this was the first year I've ever attempted to make it alone. It turned out to be pretty easy, but does take a good amount of time and some special equipment.

  • 13 cups mashed potatoes (no lumps)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs thick cream
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 cup flour
Yield: 10-12 lefse.
20lb of
potatoes yields roughly 10 and a half batches (we like to think big).

You will also need:
  • lefse stick. A wooden stick thats flat enough to slide under a lefse and about 3/4" wide, used for moving the dough from the rolling surface to the griddle.
  • lefse rolling pin. I've never seen these used for anything else, its a regular rolling pin with grooves cut laterally down the side. Luckily my mom had a spare.
  • Pastry Cloth. Its hard to find these, but it can be done. I made mine from a thick cotton canvas pulled tight across a flat, heavy piece of wood (just like my grandma used to). You need it to be at least as big as your griddle, and the more room the better.
Boil and mash the potatoes, mixing in the cream, butter, and salt. This can be done all at once if making multiple batches. Place the mixture in the fridge to cool. You can keep it like this overnight, but I'd throw some saran wrap on it in that case. Once the potatoes are cold, heat up your handy lefse griddle to about 475 degrees, and rub flour into your pastry cloth. One batch at a time, add the 1 cup of flour to the potatoes, and make into small fist-sized balls. To keep them as cold as possible, return them to the fridge, taking out one ball at a time. Roll each ball into as thin a lefse as possible before it starts sticking to the pin. This is the tricky part. Cold dough minimizes stickiness, and frequently rubbing the pin and cloth in flour helps as well. In order to transfer the lefse from the pastry board, start from one end and roll it up around the lefse stick, unrolling it on to the griddle.flour everywhere It should cook for about 1 minute a side, enough for golden brown spots to begin to form. When done, place between two moist towels, flipping the pile occasionally.

And there you have it! I made 10 pounds of potatoes, and between snacking while cooking, and our 30 guests at thanksgiving, only 3 lefse were left over, so it looks like I'll have to do it again for Christmas since I had none left to freeze. We typically serve lefse warm or at room temperature (it cools fast...) with butter, with butter and brown sugar, or just plain. I usually roll it up and eat about half a lefse at a time, depending on the size. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Ha Det!


Ben said...

Oh very interesting recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us :)

mister sandwich said...

Hey, this looks excellent. One q: aside from Norway, where can I get a lefse stick? Can I substitute a Home Depot paint stirrer? :)

Anonymous said...

I think I would start with a paint stirrer or those flat pieces of wood for indoor repairs. You probably want to sand the end down so its easier to slide under the lefse. Typical lefse sticks have a flat bottom and a rounded top the entire length of the stick, but I think the tip is the only place that functionally matters.

Jennifer said...

I proudly shared this recipe on our family reunion facebook page after a discussion of lefse recipes!! Should mention in the recipe that you need to use Idaho potatoes.