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Time to make the lefse

By Staff | Dec 2, 2011

Ardis Klingson, left, and Clara Larson have been helping make lefse for more than 20 years.


Farm News staff writer

CALLENDER – Churches have some of the longest traditions, whether it is bake sales, dinners or other gatherings, and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Callender is no exception.

Since the late-1950s, members of the church have been hosting an annual Christmas Fair featuring their ever-so-popular lefse.

Sonja Bloomquist, president of the church’s Women of the Word, said that originally the Christmas Fair was an afternoon event with a full meal. But now it is held on the first Saturday in December.

Beverly Peterson wraps lefse to freeze for the church’s annual Christmas Fair to be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“We had a new pastor at the time and with a mostly Norwegian congregation, he thought it would be good to start a Norwegian-type affair,” said Bloomquist.

The Christmas Fair, which will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Saturday, consists of a large bake sale featuring lefse, as well as craft items including rag rugs, a variety of greeting cards, Christmas ornaments and other Christmas decorations and items for sale from the church’s youth group.

The Christmas Fair also features a lunch complete with Norwegian goodies, consisting of beef burgers, salads, sweet soup, cream pudding, ostkaka and other goodies such as fattigman, rosettes, Norwegian kringla, krumkake and sandbakkels.

Each year, a group of the church’s ladies gather for a two days of lefse making. Like clockwork, each of the ladies takes a spot at rolling the dough, frying it on grills or preparing and packaging for sale.

Bloomquist said they typically make 60 to 70 packages with five lefse in each package to sell at the bake sale and to serve for lunch.

“People will come just for the lefse,” she said.

Bloomquist offered tips in making lefse, including being careful not to add too much flour to the dough, because, she said, “it might get tough. Add just enough to handle.”

The women make the lefse dough the day before, since it needs to be chilled before it is rolled out.

Bloomquist also suggests turning the lefse on the grill when it is light in color – that is how you know it is cooked.

Lefse dough

3 cups potato flakes

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 can evaporated milk

Combine in a mixing bowl

2 cups water

1/2 cup butter (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup margarine)

Heat to boiling

Pour boiling mixture into potato flakes and mix well.

Add evaporated milk and mix well.

Put in to 9-by-13-inch pans to cool.

When the dough is chilled, add just enough flour to handle and roll out thin and fry on lefse grills.

Sweet soup

1 cup Minute tapioca

2 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vinegar or juice or 1 lemon

1 cup sugar

2 cups grape juice

1 stick cinnamon

1 cup currants

1 cup seedless raisins

1 cup stoned prunes

1 cup chopped apples or pineapple

Add tapioca to boiling water, stirring frequently. Add rest of ingredients, except fruit juice. Boil fruit until tender. When soup is done, add grape juice.


3 gallons sweet raw milk

1 cake rennet

2 cups flour

4 beaten eggs

2 cups sweet cream

Dissolve rennet in lukewarm water and add flour, which has been thinned to paste with cold milk.

Heat raw milk on stove until lukewarm and stir in flour mixture. Let stand until curdled.

Drain away whey and add eggs, cream and sugar into curds. Bake 1 1/2 hours in moderate oven.


4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cream for each egg

Dash of salt


Beat eggs and sugar until light. Add cream and enough flour to make soft dough. Cut in a diamond shape and fry in hot shortening. When warm, sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Cream pudding

1 quart raw milk

1/2 cup cream

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon liquid rennet

4 eggs, well beaten

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Heat milk and cream to lukewarm and add the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add flour, which has been made into thin paste with a little milk. Fold in (don’t beat) the rennet.

Pour into large Pyrex bowl, place in a pan of water. Bake one hour; remove pan of water and bake 25 minutes more.


2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup milk

Do not over beat eggs. Use spoon, rather than an egg beater.

Beat eggs slightly and add sugar, salt and milk. Stir in flour gradually and beat until smooth.

Dip rosette iron into hot lard or oil, then into batter, not allowing batter to come over top of the iron. Fry for at least 20 seconds, but not more than 35 seconds.

Remove from iron with a clean piece of cheesecloth. Allow to cool before serving.

Norwegian kringla

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sour milk

1 egg, if preferred

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend all the above and add enough flour to make dough stiff enough to roll into pencil-sized strips.

Form the strips into figure 8 shapes. Place on greased baking sheet and bake in 375-degree oven until lightly browned.


1 cup shortening (half butter)

3 cups flour

2 teaspoon cream

Add vanilla and a few crushed cardamom seeds. Mix in order given. Drop by half teaspoons on hot iron. Roll quickly on form or in a cup.


(Sand tarts)

1 cup shortening (1/2 butter)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, unbeaten

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cream shortening; add sugar and cream well. Add egg and extract. Add the flour to make stiff dough.

Pinch off small balls of the dough. Place in the center of a sand bakkel tin and with thumb, press dough as thin as possible inside of tins. Place tins on cookie sheet.

Bake in 375-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool before removing from tins.

To remove, invert the tin and tap gently. Clean tins with a dry cloth only.

Swedish meatballs

(Served during the church’s meatball supper each September)

12 pounds ground beef

3 pounds ground pork

9 eggs

9 cups milk

6 1/2 cups bread crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons pepper

3 tablespoons salt

1/2 cup powdered onion

1 1/2 teaspoons allspice

Have meat ground together.

Mix spices with bread crumbs.

Beat eggs; add milk, then mix dry ingredients with milk and egg mixture.

Work this into meat with hands.

Make into balls (about 175 medium-sized balls per recipe), then brown in oven for 45-mintues at 350 degrees.

Make gravy from pan drippings and beef stock. Pour over meatballs; heat and serve.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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