A Classic Scandinavian (non-Panamanian) Dish Called Lefse!

As I was preparing to leave on my Panamanian adventure a cold shock of panic coursed through my veins. “How can I leave SippitySup dark for a week whilst I galavant around Central America with the beautiful people of Boquete Gourmet?” I mean I love this little blog, and won’t it (and you) get lonely while I’m gone?

What to do… what to do? Well, whenever I am stuck chewing on the phrase “what to do?”, I usually turn to Twitter! TWEET

I immediately TWEETED an SOS:


Well my non-denominational prayers were answered (or rather tweeted) by Jennifer at Unplanned Cooking! Within moments she tweeted in and reassured me and put all my fears to rest. She would be my guest blogger. She would fill my shoes while I was out traipsing in my boots through the jungles of Panama. And she’d do it with a classic Scandinavian (non-Panamanian) dish called Lefse!

So welcome Madame Unplanned Cooking! Tah Dah…

lefsePlease read in the voice of Jennifer from Unplanned Cooking.

On Friday night, Liz, from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist  threw her Sixth Annual Lefse-Making Party. She asked each of us to bring dough to roll out.  I’d never heard of lefse, a Scandinavian potato flatbread, before I moved to Minnesota from New York City ten years ago.  But for most Minnesotans I know it is a holiday tradition. They slather it with butter, sprinkle brown sugar on it, and roll it up to serve as a treat.  (Sup! Sez that’s a crêpe!! A crêpe made with potatoes. )

Thankfully, Liz provided me with a recipe. 

Admittedly, I’d resisted making lefse. In fact, I’d resisted putting down any sorts of roots here at all.  Because I figured one day I’d move Back East. And isn’t that how we define ourselves?  By proclaiming what we’re not? (Sup! Sez, yes, yes…) Our 4.5‑year-old will not eat pancakes with brown spots, so our 3‑year-old insists I burn his. 

I am not lefse; I am pecan pie.  (Did I just compare myself to a 3‑year-old? Oh, no, wait.  Pecan pie.  Yes, that’s accurate.)

But when you live in one place long enough, roots grow naturally, and in no particular direction. You make friends. You see the flowers that you planted bloom. You grow addicted to a coffee shop like Sebastian Joe’s.

Your new roots may not share the heavy root system that binds you to your original home. But they strengthen over time.

So on Friday morning, our 3‑year-old, whose roots grow deep here, and I made lefse, using Liz’s recipe.

(Sup! Sez, are you crying? I am)

Potato Lefse, from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist:

  • 4 medium-large potatoes 
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 scant cups flour 

lefse makingBoil 4 large potatoes, and then rice or mash them. When they cool slightly, add four tablespoons of butter.  Then mash in the whipping cream and salt.  On the day you will roll out the lefse, add 2 scant cups of flour. 

Refrigerate the dough to make it easier to work with, but do not knead the flour into it until you are ready to work with it.

There is special equipment you can buy to make lefseCLICK here to see 

Sprinkle flour on a pastry cloth. Bring the dough to room temperature.  Roll it out on the pastry cloth, using a smoothed or grooved rolling pin, covered with a pastry stocking. Add flour to the cloth and/or rolling pin, if the dough sticks.

When it is thin like your skin, translucent, almost, extract it from the board onto a 500-degree lefse griddle (if you have the equipment) or stove top griddle. Flip when it lightly browns and its surface bubbles.

Wrap lefse in a bath towel to keep it warm, or cool completely, fold into quarters, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.  Serve buttered with brown sugar, rolled up like a wrap.

Personally, I think lefse tastes fabulous warm, especially when paired with a good bottle of wine. 

I mean coffee (Sup! Sez, no ya don’t)

Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Jeanne Patterson

Unplanned Cooking