The Best Lefse Recipe Ever

Friday, December 18, 2009

I am not of Scandinavian decent. That said, I am Scandinavian at heart…especially when it comes to Lefse. My dear grandmother-in-law was widowed at age 20, with a toddler to care for and soon after entered into an arranged marriage of sorts. She married the cousin of her 2 sisters husbands (they were married to brothers). Her new husband was from Norway. Grandma quickly learned to cook Scandinavian. Although Grandpa Fritz passed away long before I entered the family, Grandma still kept the tradition of making Lefse every year at Christmas. YUM!! After we moved to Minnesota in 1999, I sought out Beatrice Ojakangas. She lives in Duluth, MN and has written some great cookbooks, including The Great Scandinavian Baking Book (I highly recommend this book).

My oldest daughter and I took her Lefse class and had such a wonderful day making Lefse. I try to set aside a time each busy Christmas season to make this wonderful treat. Below is the recipe directly from Beatrice’s blog. The notes are hers and I agree it is the best lefse recipe ever.

The Best Lefse Recipe Ever - Beatrice Ojakangas

This recipe makes a large amount of lefse - about 100 rounds. If you like you can easily cut the recipe in half or even in quarters. Just a couple of things I would like to emphasize. 1) That you refrigerate the mashed potato mixture UNCOVERED overnight or at least 8 hours until it is really cold. 2) that you do NOT add flour until just before you're ready to start rolling out the lefse. If it stands too long, either at room temperature or in the fridge, it will water down and you'll have a mess on your hands. However, this makes delicious lefse.
Oh, I know - many people have their own favorite recipe, but this one works!

Beatrice Ojakangas teaches lefse lessons at First Lutheran Church in Duluth, Minnesota in November.

10 pounds Russet potatoes (very important that they are Russets!)
1 pound butter (not margarine)
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
1 and 1/2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
Flour (added later)
Utensils you will need:
Lefse grill
Lefse sticks
Rolling pin and sock
Pastry cloth covered board
Potato ricer
Potato masher
Ice Cream Scoop that measures about 1/3 cup
Large piece of plastic, like a garbage bag split open
Terry Towels
Ziplock bags for storing the finished product

Peel, boil (just until done, don’t let the potatoes get mushy), drain, rice, and mash the potatoes.

Mash in the butter, whipping cream, salt and sugar until no lumps remain. Turn into a large bowl, smooth the top and cool, UNCOVERED, in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day, preheat the grill to 480 to 500*F. (You don't grease it, it must be dry.)
Place a large plastic bag on the counter and lay a terry towel on top – you will stack the cooked lefse on one end and fold the towel and plastic over. The towel absorbs moisture, the plastic keeps it just moist enough. Rub the rolling surface with flour. Rub flour into the sock-covered rolling pin. Cut cold mashed potato mixture into quarters. Remove one quarter into a bowl and put the rest back into the fridge. Working with one quarter at a time, mix in 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Using your hands, mix the flour into the potato until well blended. Once you add flour to the potatoes, you are committed to that batch of dough – if you let it stand too long it will get soft and sticky. (You can keep the remaining 3 quarters in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 to 48 hours.) With an ice cream scoop, scoop out balls about the size of a golf ball and form quickly into a ball. Dust the ball with flour and flatten it out. Place onto the floured, cloth-covered, pastry board and with a floured sock-covered rolling pin, roll the dough out evenly into a large circle. Don't hesitate to use plenty of flour at first. Wet spots can become a problem. (If you do get a wet spot, rub flour onto it and with the straight edge of a plastic dough cutter, scrape carefully to remove as much of the wet spot as possible.) Using a lefse stick, transfer the round onto the heated grill. The lefse will begin to bubble. Peek at the grilled side – you’re looking for nice, light brown spots. Slide the stick under it and carefully flip it over. If edges of the lefse begin to get dry, brown and curl, you are grilling them too long. If it is not browning well, but remains light, your grill temperature is to low. Stack the cooked rounds one on top of the other and cover with the towel and plastic. You’ll need a towel and plastic for each quarter of the dough. Cool 4 to 5 hours, then carefully, fold each lefse into quarters and place into ziplock bags (I usually put a dozen in a bag). Refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze. Makes about 100 lefse.

Linking this post Michael's Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. Be sure to check out the others posts there.