Potato Lefse is a Norwegian specialty, especially during Christmas, but also served during the year for special occasions. A simple recipe with few ingredients, but it takes a little practice to roll them out very thin and some muscles to rice the potatoes. So be ready to feel a little burn in your biceps!
5 c riced Idaho Russet potatoes, packed
1/2 c melted butter
3 T powdered sugar
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 Butter Stick for Serving
White or Brown Sugar for Serving
Aluminum Lefse Grill
Pastry Board & Cloth
7/8" Lefse Stick
Corrugated Rolling Pin
Rolling Pin Covers
2 Large Cotton Kitchen Towels
Mixing Bowl and Utensil
Makes 16 rounds or 64 servings*
*(in reality 64 servings is impossible, nobody eats just one!)
Peel and boil the potatoes until done, but not mushy. Drain well and let cool uncovered so steam can escape.
Rice the potatoes before they are cool and then cool completely. My grandma Marcy highly recommends Idaho Russet Potatoes because they are drier so that is all I use! Why not optimize on her 80+ years of experience!
Measure 5 cups of potatoes and mix in melted butter.
Add remainder of ingredients and mix very well using your hands. Knead on flour cloth until smooth.
To roll out, use 1/3 c of dough for each round, shaping with your hands into a smooth round ball as you would for buns. Place on floured cloth-covered pastry board and roll into a large round. The rounds should be almost translucent and rolled to 18" rounds to fit the lefse grill. If you start with a perfectly round ball of dough, it will be easier to maintain that round shape. Beginners sometimes say that their lefse looks like the state of Texas!
Fry on hot grill, a few seconds on each side until a few brown spots appear. To look like an expert, do not make the spots too dark. It is best to have a helper at this point so that one can keep rolling rounds and the other can tend to the grill. When turning the lefse, pick up with the stick in the middle, then begin along edge and roll the stick until lefse is flat on iron.
Once both sides have been grilled, remove and place between two kitchen towels to cool. You do not want them to dry out. The typical serving size is 1/4 of a round.
My favorite way of eating lefse is to spread butter across one size and sprinkle with white sugar, roll up and enjoy! Many also enjoy lefse with butter and brown sugar instead or to mix brown and white sugar together. If you are serving a large group, you can place lefse unbuttered on the table with sugar and butter nearby or prepare them beforehand and roll up. My family does the latter and my husband always jokes that he enjoys being able to pick up a prepared lefse to eat at a moments notice without having to endure the agony of someone passing the butter and sugar at dinner like with his family. Lefse is always a favorite and often the highest priority to get on a plate once dinner is being served so be sure to grab more than one!
Lefse can stay fresh in the fridge for a few weeks depending on what else you have in your fridge. You can also freeze lefse, just fold into fourths and place in freezer bags. I recommend making small bundles of lefse in saran wrap then freezing in the bags so that you can take a few out at a moments notice without having to break apart from the group if they should freeze together.
It can be hard to guess how many potatoes to start out with to make sure you have 5 cups so I just over boil and use the leftover riced potatoes as mashed potatoes for dinner!
Put flour on the rolling pastry board and rub into the cloth with my hands. I then use the lefse stick to scrape off any excess flour.
You may need to add flour to the board after a few rounds are rolled to keep the surface nice and dry. With this being said, try to use flour sparingly. If the dough is of the right consistency not much will be needed and you wont have to wipe off the grill after each use.
If your lefse gets stuck to the board, use a knife to cut underneath the round and release it from the board. Then scrape off any wet dough and rub more flour over the wet spot. This spot may become a nuisance if not tended to regularly with more flour so it is best to give it a little love so you enjoy the rest of your lefse making experience.
I have been to many lefse making parties. This offers a great way to have multiple helpers to tend to the different steps so that the process goes faster. I recommend boiling and ricing the potatoes beforehand, but friends can certainly help with that too!
Recipe belongs to my Grandma Marcy. I have just modified it to account for my own tips and more modern tools. I also used my Grandma Lillian's lefse grill and was given the rolling pin, board and cloth cover from my Grandma Marcy as a wedding gift. This certainly is a family favorite since it is cherished on both sides of my family.