One of our favorite holiday dishes to eat was Mormor’s least favorite dish to make—but she made it for us anyway!


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My Mormor loved to cook, and she loved to make just about everything—with one exception. She was not into making the Norwegian specialty, lefse, which is best described as a potato flatbread or crepe. Lefse is eaten either plain, with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, or smeared with sweet mustard and filled with pieces of pork belly. It was always a staple on our Christmas day breakfast buffet.

My dad’s all-time favorite was and is still pork-belly-and-mustard-stuffed lefse, and he would start begging Mormor in November to make them for him. She would say, “No, make it yourself.”

I still don’t know why she didn’t like making them. They are quite easy, so what was the problem? All I know is, every year she would fill the kitchen with swearing and cigarette smoke between sips of sherry while making them. We just left her alone!

But once they were done, the kitchen was filled with sunshine again. I loved tasting the lefse fresh off the griddle, warm with just a little sugar on top. And my dad would always look at her lovingly while eating his beloved lefse with pork belly.

MAKES ABOUT 20

You will need:
2.5 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
21/2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Peel the potatoes, and then boil until tender.
  2. Run the hot potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl.
  3. Mix in butter, cream, salt, and sugar. Cool mixture in the refrigerator.
  4. Add flour and work it in well. (Return the dough to the refrigerator if you are not making the lefse right away.)
  5. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls with your hands. Then, with a rolling pin, roll balls into thin disks between two clean towels, dusted with a little flour.
  6. Cook on a 400°F-griddle until golden brown on each side.
  7. Store wrapped in a damp towel until ready to eat. Serve with a smear of butter and a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon.

TIP:

These taste best when they are freshly made. You will need a ricer and a griddle. There are special lefse griddles available, but a pancake griddle works fine—it just has to be really hot.



Lefse are sweet Norwegian potato griddlecakes. One of our favorite holiday dishes to eat was Mormor’s least favorite dish to make—but she made it for us anyway!
Photography by Paul "Sweet Paul" Lowe

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