by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: Beatrice Ojakangas
This week's recipe, potato lefse (pronounced lef-suh) is a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes, butter, heavy cream, sugar, salt, and flour. You may think they look like a tortilla, but that is where the similarities end - these are softer and sweeter, and when made correctly, thinner. (I started out using a French rolling pin which left the edges thicker than the center. A traditional rolling pin works much better.)
These where extremely easy and fun to make. They do take a little advance planning, for the dough needs to chill overnight (at least eight hours) in the fridge - other than that, these were made in no time at all.
After the overnight rest in the fridge, flour is added to the rest of the ingredients to form a nice soft dough, which is then divided into twelve pieces and formed into balls. The dough balls are rolled out till they are tissue paper thin - you want to be able to see through it. Then they are cooked on a griddle until bubbly and browned.
Don't shy away from making these because you don't have the special equipment traditional lefse is made with - a ricer, grooved or cloth-covered rolling pin, round griddle, and a lefse stick. I have none of these items (and no dear, please don't go out and buy them - thank you anyway), nor did my fellow bakers, and we all made these successfully.
Here is what I used to make my lefse:
A food mill in place of the ricer - if you don't have either, maybe try pushing the potatoes through a strainer - the object is not to have any lumps in your potatoes.
A traditional rolling pin - keeping it well floured ( as well as your work surface. Be forewarned - flour will get everywhere!)
A griddle that fits over the gas burners on my cooktop. An electric griddle or nonstick fry pan would work too.
As for the lefse stick, I was able to lift the dough off the work surface with my hands and place it on the griddle, and used my trusty fish spatula to turn it over. An offset spatula, dowel, or new paint stirrer can be used as well.
Traditionally, lefse is served warm, spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon sugar and rolled up.
I chose to use the lefses for one of our favorite dinners - smoked turkey wraps with mango and curried mayonnaise. The hubs said the wraps were even better, and want them to always be made with lefse. Not sure that will happen... being I very rarely know what I am making for dinner, just hours beforehand.
The next day I tried the lefse with some butter and cinnamon sugar as suggested in the book - s o g o o d!
These are definitely worth a repeat performance..
To see all the fabulous results with this recipe, without any special equipment, check out the links of my fellow bakers. Their links are listed under the LYL: Potato Lefse link, on the TWD website.
If you would like to see lefse being made, here is a video one of our bakers posted, of Beatrice and Martha Stewart making the these. It's always nice to have a visual.
You will find the recipe on page 165 of Baking with Julia, or check out Karen's Kitchen Stories, she has the recipe on her blog, along with photos of how I'm sure they are supposed to look; and if you are a fan of bread, she has the most wonderful bread recipes to drool over while you are there.