Does doing something two years in a row make it a tradition? Probably not… but this is my second year making lefse with my dear friend Alex who is definitely a seasoned pro. The tradition has a long history in his family and he has been making lefse – the Norwegian dessert made from potatoes and topped with butter + sugar – since he was probably old enough to hold a rolling pin.
Alex was kind enough to share the tradition with me again this year and Randi joined in on the fun. She will be sharing highlights from our magical lefse making night on her podcast along with Alex’s grandma’s recipe in the new year!
There’s something magical about baking during the holidays. I think the magic gets elevated when you are making something that you know has been passed down for generations and when you are sharing those traditions with friends. Even though I didn’t grow up eating lefse during the holidays (I had NO idea what it was before moving to Fargo) I have grown to love my little “potato tortillas” during Christmas time.
Alex packed up his family lefse supplies, a special griddle, lefse sticks, lefse/pastry board, and fancy rolling pin and we headed to Randi’s to start the marathon of rolling and flipping and folding that is lefse making!
Alex had already prepped the potatoes for the lefse dough – a process that involves boiling, ricing, and letting the potatoes cool. He brought two huge bowls of prepped potatoes that we had to finish turning into dough which involved adding flour, mixing well, and rolling up into cute little balls.
Although I know that you can definitely make lefse solo (I am pretty sure that Alex has made a million pieces of lefse in his life, probably a ton of which he did all on his own) it is so fun to do with friends! 1. You can all wear your favorite Christmas aprons and 2. You can take turns forming the dough into balls, rolling out the dough, flipping, and folding and basically form a little mini assembly line.
Rolling the dough nice and thin and flipping the delicate pieces of lefse on the griddle are probably the hardest parts but with a little practice Randi and I were doing pretty well by the end of the night. Even the mess-ups were fun though because we justified eating those pieces straight off the griddle (which is hands down the BEST way to eat lefse!).
When you listen to Randi’s podcast of the night you’ll likely hear the fun we had trying to guess what each lefse shape looked like. There were a lot of old witch/troll faces and random countries that I am pretty sure we made up. None of them turned out perfect but that is the charm of homemade lefse.
Randi’s ridiculously adorable pup Junebug kept us company while rolling. She just always has to be where the action is at. With a fire roaring in the other room and plenty of Christmas tunes playing it was the coziest of nights.
We ended up with two huge stacks of lefse, all neatly folded and wrapped up in a towel + grocery bag to sweat overnight. In the morning once our lefse cooled we could fold it once more and freeze them. I’ll be bringing mine to our family Christmas where we will let them defrost, slather them with butter and plain white sugar and roll them up to enjoy.
Lefse is a simple little “dessert” (one that I literally laughed at the first time I had it) but once you realize the amount of time and love that goes into each piece it becomes something pretty special. Cooking is a hobby I usually do solo but there’s something to be said about spreading the love and spending time with your friends while making something yummy to eat – especially when you get to share the mess-ups and sing along to Christmas tunes together.