Monday, February 28, 2011

Lessons in Lefse

I am quite proud of my Norwegian heritage, and there are certain traditions that I've grown up with and feel deeply connected to.  As with most cultures, Scandanavian food has a taste all its own and one of my favorite fairs has got to be lefse.  It's a simple food, that isn't so easy to make, so when my grandma offered to teach me, I jumped at the chance.  If you're not familiar, lefse is a sort of potato flatbread (as tortilla is to Mexico, or Pita bread is to Greece.)  It's also a food that is traditionally only eaten in the chilly months of winter, and my family eats with a spread of butter and a dusting of brown sugar.  They can also be eaten with jelly, or corn syrup, and in Norway they even eat them with ham and eggs, or other sorts of savory meats.  So last Sunday I made my way to my Grandma and Grandpa Erickson's and spent the afternoon in the kitchen (and although I've far from mastered the art of lefse making, I'll be asking for a lefse griddle for Christmas next year!)

You will need:
A lefse griddle
A cloth covered board
A cloth covered rolling pin (with ridges)
A lefse turning stick
A potato ricer 
- 3 cups rice potatoes (Idaho work best)
- 3Tbsp. whipping cream
- 3Tbsp. softened butter
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- About 1 cup flour
To make-
- Peel the potatoes then boil them.  Rice and mash the potatoes to remove all lumps.  Add, whipping cream, butter, sugar and salt. 
- Take one cup of the potato mixture and mix by hand with roughly 1/3 cup of flour (until it handles well.)
- Divide the dough into thirds.   Turn your griddle on to 500.
- Keep the board floured.  Start to roll out the dough.  Make sure your lefse stick stays clean and the cloth on the board stays dry.  While rolling out the dough, flip it over with your lefse stick several times.  Get the lefse as thin as possible.
- Place the lefse on the griddle.  Cook on each side about one minute, until little brown spots form.  
- Once cooked, remove from the griddle and place in a kitchen towel.  Let cool completely, for several hours in the towel. Then Place in plastic bags.  Store in the refrigerator. 
- Repeat the process.  Make sure the cloth board stays as dry as possible and the lefse stick stays clean.

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