Today’s post is brought to you by my dear friend Hibby (with a guest appearance by Hubby’s hand). She’s a proud former Minnesotan, a Scandinavian-blooded sweetie. I can’t think of a better person to teach you how to make lefse. Enjoy!
God Jul (Merry Christmas). Välkomna till Minnesota Mammas blogg: Svenska Edition!
Today brings us 2,000 miles away from Minnesota, to my little kitchen in Los Angeles. We will be making beginner-level lefse, a yummy, cozy, Scandinavian potato crepe that evokes images of warm kitchens in the dead of winter, twinkling Christmas trees, and jingling sleigh bells. Growing up, I loved standing around in the kitchen, eating lefse with my mom and sisters. Never did I think I could make it myself! But here I am, telling you how I did. Join me?
My recipe calls for four cups of riced potatoes. To be on the safe side, I boiled four medium-large potatoes. I ended up not using the entire bowl of them riced, but I’d probably do the same amount again—just to be safe. Oh, and do this step the night before! (That’s important to mention, right?)
Now, there’s a lot of controversy on how to boil the potatoes correctly. If you’d like to know the different options, feel free to leave a comment here. In the end, I peeled and didn’t cut them.
Cover them with cold water with a tablespoon of salt and of sugar. I ended up boiling mine too long—oops! You’ll want to boil yours just until a fork pierces easily. Don’t stab them too much; you don’t want the potato flesh water-logged like mine. Mine still worked; I just needed more flour in the end to counterbalance the excess moisture. So, do what I say, not what I do.
After they’ve finished boiling, pull them out and rice them together with a stick of butter (8 tablespoons). Hint: that nifty little gadget pictured here is a potato ricer.
Once riced, I threw mine in the fridge for a couple minutes to cool them down a little before I patted them down. If that’s too high maintenance for you, I’m sure you can just pat them down right after ricing them. Don’t smash them down, but pack them down enough that they’ll end up relatively solid. Inside the bowl, place a couple paper towels and cover with plastic wrap. The paper towels will absorb any condensation overnight.
The next day, take the potatoes out and re-rice them back into the bowl.
Now gather the rest of the ingredients and our supplies. Perhaps you don’t have that honkin’ lefse grill or graceful lefse wand. S’ok, neither do I. Along with the prepared potatoes, this is all I used.
Ingredients to gather: Milk, salt, ground cardamom (optional, but seriously? Just do it; the smell is heavenly!), flour, sugar.
Tools to gather: shallowest skillet you have, broad spatula, rolling pin with sock (I also don’t have the grooved lefse rolling pin; no problem), pastry cloth, two smooth towels, and that’s it!
Measure out roughly (erring on more) 4 cups of the riced potatoes.
In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom. Pour into the potatoes and combine. Add in two cups of flour.
Work quickly to roll all the dough into egg-sized balls.
Stick the bowl into the refrigerator; we want the dough as cold as we can get it before we start working with it. At the same time, turn the heat on the skillet. I turned my stove top on the highest setting. Don’t add any oil or butter; we fry lefse dry.
In my little kitchen, there wasn’t room to have the production set up right in a row, but it still worked ok. My pastry cloth was fresh out of the pack, so I taped it to the counter and started rubbing flour into it. Keep rubbing flour into yours until it doesn’t hold any more. Seriously, you don’t want your dough sticking to the cloth. Same with the rolling pin sock; flour it up! Next to the skillet, set up the two towels. This is where you’ll deposit the finished lefse.
When you’re ready to begin, take one ball out of the fridge at a time, leaving the rest in the bowl in the fridge. Squish it flat, turn it over once on the cloth; you don’t want to over-flour the dough, but you don’t want it to stick. Roll it out using short strokes from the center out to the edge, lessening the pressure as you reach the edge.
Once it’s rolled out, use the spatula, and your other hand for support, to transfer it to the hot skillet. Depending on how hot yours is (and you can adjust as necessary), let it sit on the one side for just a bit, searing it. You don’t want the tell-tale lefse spots on this side, just light flecks of color. Flip it over, and cook until the lefse spots are light brown. Don’t cook longer than necessary, as overcooking dries it out. Play around with the temperature of the skillet (I turned mine down from the top heat by a little bit).
And guess what. My first one turned out horribly! Not circular, it had stuck to the cloth when I tried transferring it, and I left it too long on both sides.
After that one, though, I got into my lefse groove. I made sure to scrape, with a knife, any dough that had been left behind on my cloth. I also rubbed in extra flour over that spot. Remember to dust flour over the whole surface and sock between each sheet, just don’t over-flour. I rolled out subsequent balls of dough just the way my great-grandma said to: when you think you’ve rolled it thin……start rolling! Don’t know how thin you should get yours? See if you’d possibly be able to read a newspaper through it.
Once the lefse is finished cooking on the second side, transfer one on top of the other, between the two towels and cover the stack immediately. This is to help them cool, but to trap the moisture in.
Even Hubby joined in on the fun. He thinks making lefse ROCKS!
Now, for those readers who perhaps don’t know how to eat this delectable goodness, Hubby again steps in to demonstrate. The only change from the pictures below is that, depending on how big you made your lefse, I’d cut the circle in half, butter half of that, sugar it, fold it over, and roll that up. Otherwise it gets too log-ish.
Uff da, I know this was long, and if you stuck with me to the end, tack så mycket! I had a wonderful time making mine, and I hope you give it a try yourself! I think lefse-making will become a holiday tradition in our family….
Thanks, Hibby! And because I can’t resist “introducing” you further to this lovely individual, and I know how much she would love me for posting this, here’s a photo of Hibby and I being awesome (circa January 2007–can you believe it was almost 3 years ago????). Heh heh.