The hustle and bustle of Christmas is coming up and we’d like to help you keep calm and finish your shopping. Quality, affordable stocking stuffers can be hard to think of year after year, so we’ve compiled a list of fifteen ideas from Pleasant Hill Grain
As a young girl I always looked forward to Lefse…a treat many other kids my age had never heard about. Lefse is a tightly rolled Norwegian flat bread sugar sandwich. What little kid wouldn’t want a sugar sandwich for Christmas?! This is more of a northern Midwest tradition, but no matter what region you’re from, it’s worth a try.
- 4 cups of riced potatoes
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- Peel 2-2 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes. Rinse and cut potatoes in half and then quarters. It’s important that your potato pieces are of similar size so they are all cooked through at the same time. Place potatoes into a large pot of salted water and boil until fork tender. (You should be able to pierce potatoes with a fork easily.) Note: This will yield 4 cups of riced potatoes equaling 12 lefse rounds, you can easily double this recipe for a larger batch. We also highly recommend you use high quality potatoes.
- When the potatoes are done boiling, drain well in a large colander, then rice. Don’t waste a lot of time here, your potatoes need to be warm to melt the butter in the next step. To help keep your potatoes warm, rice them into the empty pot you used for boiling. Rice all your potatoes and then measure out 4 cups (lightly packed) into another large bowl. Tip: Make your ricing a bit easier and only fill the ricer basket 1/2 to 2/3’s of the way full. And take it slow, a lot of pressure at once will spray potato all over. They are very hot so please be careful not to burn your skin and watch out for that steam.
- To your 4 cups of riced potatoes, add 1/4 cup butter to melt evenly and mix in well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. If you would like to cook the same day you can cover the potatoes with a towel and set aside on your countertop until they are completely cooled. Or to cool faster, place uncovered in refrigerator for 30 minutes, pull out and stir, refrigerate 30 minutes longer, stir. Keep repeating until cooled. Even faster? Use the freezer. Same process: freezer, stir, freezer, stir until cool. (If you can, let the potatoes cool off a bit at room temp before covering. If they are still steaming hot, all that steam will condense on the lid and give you extra water.)
- Add to your cooled potatoes, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon sugar and 1 1/2 cups flour. If you refrigerated overnight, break up the potatoes into small crumbles before adding the remaining ingredients. Once added, stir until most of the flour is worked in (loose crumbles). Then knead or fold (like bread dough) in mixing bowl 10-15 times. You should feel your dough come together into a smooth ball.
- Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out 12 patties onto a tray or cookie sheet. Then shape, gently knead between your hands, roll into ball and press flat. It is very important that the edges of your patties are smooth with no cracks, to prevent larger cracks as you roll out the dough. Set your patties aside to rest while you turn on your lefse grill and let it heat to 500 degrees. Tip: 1/3 cup patty will roll into a nice and thin 14 inch round. If you like thicker lefse roll only to 12 inches. If you like the thinness but prefer a smaller sheet a 1/4 cup patty rolls into a 12 inch round.
- Place your patty in the center of a floured pastry board, cloth or mat. Gently roll back and forth using mostly the weight of the floured pin with little pressure from you until it becomes a small oval. Then either rotate your board slightly or change your angle and roll back and forth. Continue rotating and rolling until your lefse is round and even in thickness. Keep rolling until you have achieved the size of lefse you’d like.
- Using a lefse turning stick, frosting knife, or thin spatula, slide it under the lefse sheet (middle of sheet) making sure to keep the tip of your tool down. Lift gently from the board and move quickly to the lefse grill. Matching the edge of your lefse to the edge of the lefse grill, lay the lefse down and “unroll”. Again you will need to move quickly, and in one smooth motion. If you miss the grill and part of your lefse is hanging off, let it cook for 10-15 seconds, then using a hot pad, lay it on top of the cooking portion of lefse and gently pull the lefse that is hanging off onto the grill.
- Cook the first side 30 seconds, give or take. The surest way to know if your lefse is ready to flip is to watch for cues. Your sheet should bubble up and when you peek under the edge there should be light golden brown spots. Then run your lefse stick down the middle, lift and turn over using the same method mentioned in step 7. Cook the second side until you see the same signs. The second side will cook considerably faster than the first side as the sheet has been heated through. From there simply transfer your lefse to a towel or wax/parchment paper (do not use towels laundered with scents). Wipe off excess flour on your lefse grill with a dry cloth between each sheet to avoid burnt flour on your sheets. Let about 10 to 12 sheets stack, cover with a towel, then set them aside to cool. If you see that your sheets have a bit too much flour, wait until cooled and dust off. When lefse is completely cooled, package as desired or spread butter evenly, sprinkle with sugar, roll it up and enjoy!
A Few Helpful Tools From PHG…
Here at Pleasant Hill Grain it’s easy to see what our customer’s love, and sometimes they come back and purchase their favorite kitchen appliance, cook’s tool or tabletop accessory a second time, for a family member or friend!
Ladies and gentlemen… a list of Christmas gifts that are sure to please!
Bavarian Style Sticky Pear Cake
A hard to resist cake loaded with delicious components!
- 1 cup pitted soft dates
- 2 sticks (1 cup) soft butter, plus extra for greasing pan
- 1-1/2 cups pecans
- 2 medium pears, just ripe
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2-1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 heavy cream
- 1/2 cup pecans
- Cover dates in boiling water. Let stand with heat off for 15 minutes, then drain dates through sieve. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter, then use a pastry brush to grease the inside of a 10-cup nonstick bundt cake pan.
- Chop pecans in a food processor. Peel pears, then cut them into 1-inch cubes.
- Cream butter and sugar with a mixer, then whisk in dates. Add eggs, milk, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and combine until smooth.
- Fold in pears and pecans, then transfer the batter to greased pan.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool in pan for for at least 10 minutes, then gently turn over onto wire rack and remove pan.
- For the toffee topping, combine sugar, butter, and cream in medium sauce pan (preferably nonstick). Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer briefly to make silky smooth caramel sauce.
- Stir in pecans, then spoon sauce over the cake. Serve warm or cold.
Come to Hampton, Nebraska next week to see all the beautiful kitchen appliances and kitchenware we’ve displayed for you to touch, feel, and test in our newly-expanded store! It’s been an exciting journey for us this year and we can’t wait to share it with you next week during our grand opening. Bring your friends and Christmas shopping lists, and make it a fun outing to kick-off the holiday season! We’ll have refreshments, free gifts, prizes to win, and sales and specials to show you.
Holiday Grand Opening Event
Thursday, Nov. 12 & Friday, Nov. 13 9am-6pm
Saturday, Nov. 14 9am-4pm
Our address is 210 South 1st Street, Hampton, NE