Last week, Riley and I drove up to Evergreen. It's about a half hour drive from our house and on this particular day, it was absolutely gorgeous. The snow that had fallen earlier in the week was still coating every rock and tree in the mountains, making me catch my breath at every turn. My favorite part of the drive was seeing the stream that runs along with road, which is usually bubbling merrily on it's way regardless of the season, frozen over in most places. The few spots with visible running water added to the enchantment of the scene thanks to steam that slowly rose into the air. And did I mention that the sun was shining and the sky was a bright, vibrant blue? Well, it was. And it was magnificent.
I wasn't able to find a good place to stop and get a photo, so I hope my description helps you imagine what it looked like. It was glorious.
Here's a little taste of what life has been like for the past week...
The reason we went to Evergreen was to make lefse with a new friend of ours. She is a fellow Minnesota transplant and one of her family traditions is to make lefse at Christmas time. If you're not familiar, lefse is a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes, flour and milk or cream. The dough is made into golf-ball size rounds, then rolled very thinly and placed on a griddle where it gently cooks until brown spots are visible. The end result looks very similar to a tortilla but the texture is much more tender and delicate.
There are other versions made without potato, though I don't recall having tasted that kind before. I do recall Christmases as a kid when my uncle's parents would bring homemade lefse as their contribution to the holiday buffet. It was always folded neatly in triangles that were filled with creamy butter and nutty, sweet brown sugar. There is almost nothing in this world better than that combination.
This was my first experience making lefse and I was pleased to find it is not difficult at all. It does take a little practice finding the right consistency for the dough (my friend Andrea fortunately has lots of experience with this). It helps to do a test run with one or two balls of dough that have been rolled out to see if the dough needs more flour. If the dough seems exceptionally sticky as you're rolling it out, you may want to add a bit more before forming the rest of the balls.
I loved using the traditional equipment to make the lefse, but I'm sure you could do it without a lefse stick or traditional griddle. (If you are interested in buying the traditional gear, click here.)
It took some trial and error experiences for us, but in the end we came out with a nice batch of beautiful, delicious lefse to have at home. Despite the fact that this is the most simple and comforting snack on the planet, Riley didn't quite warm up to giving them a taste.
Someday he will appreciate them, I'm sure.
I'm hoping this will become a new tradition for us. It was such a blast chatting about lutefisk, lefse, and other Minnesota oddities with someone from the motherland. Thanks, Andrea, for introducing me to the art of lefse-making!
I don't have my own personal recipe for lefse, but click here for a great one posted by The Kitchn.