The text is a Facebook post I wrote to explain lefse to a group of people who grew up in the same town I did.


 


Since there have been a lot of posts in the GUIVW group recently about lefse, and a lot of questions, Pat Klinger asked me to do a post all about it. Lefse is a traditional Norwegian food. It's made from flour and mashed potatoes, and takes quite some preparation. There are different recipes that you can easily find on the web. After the dough is made, you roll pieces of it out with a special rolling pin covered in floured cloth. There is a plastic surface you can buy that helps in measuring how big the circle of lefse will be depending on your griddle, which is like a pancake griddle but circular. The goal is to roll it out as thin as possible, but still thick enough that you can pick it up using a special stick that is flat on one side and rounded on the other. You slide the lefse stick under the middle of the rolled-out dough with the flat side down, then gently and slowly pick the lefse dough up and transfer it to the griddle by setting one edge of the lefse dough on the edge of the griddle and turning the stick over so the lefse slides off it onto the griddle. The length of time to bake a round of lefse varies depending on thickness and style, because there is a lot of variation in the number of brown spots "allowed" on a round. It's very hard to make it without at least a few brown spots, but some areas of Norway are more particular about this than others. After cooking it on one side, you use the lefse stick to turn it by picking it up just like you did before and flipping it over. The sides should match in coloration, or at least be close, and the lefse round should still be somewhat flexible (i.e. not crisp but instead be the same texture as a tortilla).


Many areas of Norway and most places in the US that have lefse slice the round in quarters, then spread a mixture of butter and sugar on each. Some places use brown sugar and others use white sugar, with some adding a bit of cinnamon to the mix. Then each prepared quarter is folded in half lengthwise and served (as pictured on our dinner table at last Christmas). It can also be prepared the same way but then rolled from the edge toward the point, then folded at one end (or else the filling falls out). At events, the rounds are often prepared whole and rolled so each customer gets a whole round. Other areas make a stiffer butter & sugar mix, cut the rounds into squares, spread the mixture on the square and fold it over, then cut it into strips. It is always served with the main meal and sometimes also served on a dessert table, but never as a separate dessert.


If you don't want to make it yourself or don't have the right equipment, you can buy it. Pat gave me permission to write about where to buy it here. The best place is at Columbia Lodge, the local branch of the Sons of Norway, which is located downtown at 2400 Grant Street. Dedicated volunteers gather at the lodge to make lefse several times ever year, then sell packages for $5 each. You may have seen the video of them rolling lefse on TV this year. If you want to buy it from them, I have attached the blurb from their newsletter that states you can stop by on Tuesdays from 10 am to noon. Their newsletter is on their website.  You can also buy commercially-produced lefse at some grocery stores around the area, but usually only in November and December. I don't know about this year, but in the past Safeway, Albertson's, and Trader Joe's have had it. Call the customer service line for the store before you go to make sure that they carry it and where it's located in the store.


There is a food cart in Portland that sells "gourmet" lefse that has all kinds of toppings, but this isn't traditional. In Norway, it is also rolled about three times as thick and served whole wrapped around a hotdog or deli meat. This thicker version is called lompe.


I used the challenge template, 8 papers from “Sugar & Spice Bakery” by the GingerBread Ladies/Jumpstart Designs/Key Lime Digi Design/Magical Scraps Galore/PrelestnayaP/Scraps N Pieces/Tami Miller Designs/ADB Designs, and 3 elements from “A Taste of Christmas” by the GingerBread Ladies/Key Limi Digi Design/Blue Heart Scraps.