Here are at Carolina HeartStrings we are all about our roots, our Southern roots and our “heritage” roots. This month for our Carolina Roots series I posted about North Carolina’s love of the sweet potato and my ongoing effort to incorporate more of them into my diet. I am a transplanted Southerner of Russian/German descent. A staple for my mother when she was growing up was my grandmother’s Lefse. Lefse is actually a Norwegian potato pancake of sorts. My grandparents settled in North Dakota after immigrating to America and North Dakota had a large Norwegian population and undoubtedly my grandmother picked up her Lefse recipe from a Norwegian neighbor. I found her original recipe in my old tin recipe card file and the word “potato” jumped out at me. Can you see where my mind is going with this? What better way to make a “heritage” recipe for my family with a Southern twist than to make it with sweet potatoes! My mother said that she used to eat the Lefse with some of my grandmother’s homemade apricot preserves. I decided to make a cream cheese filling and roll them up, almost like a crepe. They were so delicious and a huge hit at my house!
Lefse: Combine the sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar and salt in a mixer. Beat at medium speed until it is smooth and mixed well. Add the cream. Mix until the consistency is very smooth. Remove from the mixer and add the flour 1/2 cup at a time and stir by hand. Continue adding the flour until you have added 2 cups. At this point you will want to test the consistency of your dough. It needs to be at the stage that you can roll it out. Not sticky and not too firm. You may need to add more flour. If this is necessary do it in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments.
Before you start cooking your Lefse you need to make the filling so it is ready to place into the nice warm Lefse.
Filling: Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl and beat well on medium to high speed with a mixer. You want the filling to be thoroughly mixed and creamy. Dump in the pecans and stir by hand to combine. Set aside.
Take 1/4 cup size measuring cup and scoop out some dough. Roll this amount into a ball and place on a floured surface. Roll this out into a very thin pancake. Place on hot griddle and cook. You do not want to over cook and make them hard. You just want to lightly brown on both sides. It needs to be pliable enough to roll up once you have filled it with the cream cheese mixture. Remove the Lefse from the griddle and place approximately 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on one side of it. Roll up and serve! Makes 15.