Making potato lefse takes some practice, especially if, like me, you are unfamiliar with this Norwegian crepe-like sweet. The basis for lefse is a dough of mashed potatoes, enriched with butter, heavy cream, and a little sugar and salt, and stiffened with flour. The dough is not unlike gnocchi dough. But unlike gnocchi, lefse are formed by rolling out small balls of dough into thin round “crepes,” which are cooked briefly on both sides in a dry skillet.
At this point, I need to say that I deviated somewhat from the recipe. Boiled potato chunks were called for, but I used some baked russet potatoes that were leftover makings for home fries. So right away I was dealing with a different moisture content. I went lightly with the added flour but wasn’t sure if the dough consistency was right. Apparently there is a lot of lefse making paraphernalia to be had: canvas rounds on which to roll out lefse, grooved rolling pins, and lefse sticks for turning the lefse on the griddle. I made do with a very well floured countertop, an ordinary rolling pin, and a spatula.
Since my griddle pan is ridged, I used a cast iron skillet for cooking the lefse in the beginning, then switched to a larger non-stick skillet. With the cast iron, the lefse kept burning, even as I checked them frequently and turned the heat down. The non-stick skillet worked out much better.
After baking (or dry frying,) the lefse are spread with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and rolled up. They’re very tasty…kind of a cross between crepes and toast. You can smell the potato in them, and they have a different starchiness than standard crepes. The recipe is from Baking With Julia, pages 165-166. You can also read about the experiences that other bakers had with lefse by heading over to the Tuesdays With Dorie blog.