Monday, October 17, 2011


Photo credit: Star Tribune

King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway are in town this week. I had planned to make something different this morning, but when I heard this was their last day in town, I figured I should give the Motherland some props and do up some lefse.

Of course, "motherland" would be a misnomer for me, since my mother is English and Irish, and my grandpa was the Norwegian ingredient, but my Grandma Ruth was one hell of a lefse factory, despite being German.

Here she is with my dad. AWWW!

I wish I'd spent more of my childhood learning kitchen tricks from my grandma. By the time I'd wrestled much alone time with her, she'd already gone through my numerous cousins and was becoming a "back of the box" chef. I remember telling her how much I looooved her pineapple upside-down cake, only to have her tell me that it was actually Barbara Mandrell's recipe, and she got it off the back of a box of cake mix.

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But there was one thing she did from scratch that I looked forward to every year. Lefse. Perfectly thin, perfectly cooked, and delicious with butter and sugar. I knew there was no way I could make my lefse as perfect without years of experience, but I will tell you, it tastes even better with Earth Balance and organic raw sugar sprinkled on it.

This recipe makes a pretty good pile of lefse, but if you want to bring a ton to a family party, I'd double or triple it.

Vegan Norwegian Lefse
Makes about a dozen pancake-sized lefse

4 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 Tbsp margarine
2 1/2 Tbsp soy creamer or plain soymilk
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling

Cover potatoes in cold water and cook until fork-tender. Push through a ricer, or mash gently with one of these. A regular masher can make the potatoes too gummy. Mix in the margarine, creamer, salt, and sugar. Refrigerate until room temperature. Once cooled, add flour and mix in with your hands (wash them, you dirty punk!). Tear off a golf ball-sized chunk, and roll it into a soft ball in floured hands. On a floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll that sucker out as flat as you can (feel free to take bits out of the dough bowl for spackling any tears). Cook lefse on a HOT cast iron griddle or crepe pan for like, 15-25 seconds or until it's lightly browned. You'll get the hang of it. Turn, cook an additional 10 seconds (really), and move to a plate. Keep the stack warm with a towel until you're finished.

Lefse can be served rolled up with vegetables, Tofutti cream cheese, or whatever you like. I still prefer them the traditional way: buttery and sweet.

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Helen said...

Yum! Your lefse look super tasty -- I can't say I've tried lefse before (there is a surprisingly strong Norwegian community here in Seattle, but unfortunately not a lot of vegans in there), but they sound really, really good.

Also, very cute pic of your grandma and dad!

JENNA said...

I've never heard of lefse! I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for the recipe.

Rachel Hallows said...

Those look really good! And I love that pic of your grandma and dad!