Lefse

Lefse, the Norwegian take on a crêpe, is just as delicious—and versatile—as its French cousin. Lefse is made from potato dough that is rolled into large, thin circles and cooked on a hot griddle. Topped with butter or cinnamon and sugar, golden-brown lefse are often served as dessert; wrapped around meats and cheeses, they work just as well as appetizers or a main course. This recipe calls for Russet Burbank potatoes, which are grown in Idaho and throughout the Midwest. Because they are low in moisture but high in starch, Russet Burbanks are especially well suited for baking.

  • 2 1/2 pounds Russet Burbank potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • Soft butter, sugar, and cinnamon, for serving.
  1. Peel potatoes, and cut into quarters. Place in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Keep potatoes at a low simmer until a skewer slips in and out easily, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander. Allow potatoes to sit until cool enough to handle.
  2. Put potatoes through a ricer, or place in a large mixing bowl, and mash using a potato masher. Beat in butter, cream, sugar, and salt. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered.
  3. The next day, add flour. Stir until well blended. Divide into twenty equal portions. Heat lefse griddle, electric fry pan, or pancake griddle to 400°.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the balls of dough until very thin, making circles about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Using a long, thin spatula, transfer to the heated griddle and cook on each side. Stack between two terrycloth towels, and cover with a plastic bag.
  5. To serve, spread lefse with soft butter, and fold into quarters or roll up. To serve on a tray along with cookies, spread lefse with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and roll up. Cut rolls on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.
  6. To freeze, fold lefse into quarters, and wrap until airtight in foil or plastic wrap. To serve, remove from freezer, thaw, and reheat in foil in oven at 300°, 10 to 15 minutes.

Yields: Approximately 20 lefse.

These recipes have been adapted from The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. “Beatrice Ojakangas’ Great Holiday Baking Book” (Crown, 1994; $25)
Available from www.Beatrice-Ojakangas.com.

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