Given my Norwegian heritage, Christmas just doesn’t feel right without lefse, a type of flat potato bread. In recent years, I have not been around many Norwegians, so I have had to learn how to make my own to preserve the custom. I have used a few different recipes for lefse, but this year I went off book and made it from my head. Here’s my method:
First, peel about two kilos of potato. Russet potatoes work well. I chop them into quarters and boil them in a large pot until soft. Next, drain the water. Most recipes will tell you to run the potatoes through a potato ricer. If you do this, you can keep the peels on. However, I don’t have one, so I simply mash the potatoes as fine as possible.
To this mash, add 250 grams of butter and 250 ml of heavy whipping cream. Add a few table spoons of sugar and about a tablespoon of salt.
Put this mix in the fridge. I usually leave it overnight. When I’m ready to make the lefse, I take out the potato mix and a bag of white flour. This is where the challenge begins. You need a flat surface, a rolling pin, and something to cover the rolling pin. I know you can get a special cloth for this, but I just cut the toes off of a clean sock and place it over the rolling pin, then dust it with flour.
I take a small amount of the mashed potatoes in my hand (a few tablespoons), and gently mix it with the flour. This works best when the potatoes are still cold. You need enough flour to make dough stick together. If you add too much, the lefse will be dry. Too little, and you will not be able to roll it out–plus it will taste strongly of potato.
Roll the dough flat like a pancake. This requires practice and hard work. It usually takes me a while to get the mixture right. You then need to transfer it from your counter top and into a dry frying pan.
In the past, I have used cast iron, which worked well. However, this year I used a large electric grill that allowed me to cook two at once.
You need to cook each side of the lefse till it is covered with brown spots.
Once cooked, butter your lefse, add a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar, roll it up like a crepe, and enjoy!
This year, my recipe resulted in about 80 servings. You can store it in the fridge or freezer. Just wrap your lefse in a tea towel before putting it in a container. This will keep it from going soggy.
My lefse is not as pretty as some I’ve seen, but it tastes great!