It has been said that lefse from the north is light, soft and tastes like heaven on earth. While there are several varieties to be found across the sprawling northern landscape, there are some places where thin lefse is rare to be seen, and the thickness suggests more food and substance with each bite.
Nordlandslefse is a thick variant of lefse that is sweet with a buttercream filling ´smørkrem´ and served as a cake alongside a cup of dark coffee. This type of lefse is also referred to as Hardangerlefse, tykklefse and mørlefse and can be found throughout the country. Although recipes vary, they usually contain horn salt/hartshorn (ammonium bicarbonate) as the main leavening agent.
The dough is simple enough to make and is rolled out to a large dough before being cut into large, circular shapes. Each lefse cooks over a warm griddle, takke, until they have risen a bit with a golden-brown hue on each side. As they cool, butter, sugar, and cinnamon are blended together to form the sweet filling to be sandwiched between the lefse – although, personal preference can dictate what the filling will be. Individual slices are made, and these hearty lefser are ready for serving.
Nordlandslefse is a wonderful treat that you can easily freeze for later on. Feel free to change the filling to your personal preference, omitting the cinnamon, for example. For a gluten-free option, you can use a 1-to-1 gluten free flour in place of the all-purpose.
Makes about 8 lefser or 32 individual servings when ready
For the lefse:
- ½ cup / 1 stick (112 g) butter
- ½ cup (120 ml) light Norwegian syrup or golden syrup
- ½ cup (120 ml) sour cream
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon horn salt
- 5 cups (600 g) all-purpose flour
For the filling “klinning”:
- 1 ¼ cup (275 g) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (275 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the syrup until combined.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and syrup mixture with the sour cream, buttermilk, sugar, baking soda, horn salt, and flour and mix to combine into a nice dough. *If you can’t access hornsalt, substitute it with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Generously flour your surface and begin rolling out the dough from the center to the outside in a rotating motion, until it is ¼ cm (2 to 3 mm) thick. Take a cake tin or plate and cut out large rounds about 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 cm) in diameter.
Heat a dry griddle/takke or a frying pan over medium heat. Using a large spatula, gently transfer the dough rounds (as many as can fit) to the dry griddle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the lefse is golden brown on the bottom then flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the other side is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough. Stack the cooked lefser on top of one another and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the room temperature butter, sugar and cinnamon. Take one lefse and evenly spread about ¼ of the filling on top. Take another lefse and place it on top of the filling. Repeat with the remaining lefser to form about 4 cakes. When ready to serve, cut each cake into 8 slices.
To store Nordlandslefse, place in a container or plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. These are wonderful to freeze with the filling inside and you can take them out for guests to offer as a lovely treat. You can keep them whole, in half, or in individual slices and then wrap in foil and freezer bags and they should keep well for 3 months or so. Allow them to defrost at room temperature before serving. You can also choose to freeze them without any filling – just warm them up in the oven and then add your filling when ready to serve.
For more lefse recipes, check out: