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Tjukklefse – a regional taste of Norway

Nov 8, 2022

“Lefse” is a common denominator for flat, round, and often soft pastries. They exist in a plethora of varieties all across Norway and around the globe.

Originally they were cooked over an open flame on a stone slab or an iron plate, today they are often cooked on a griddle.

It is often thought that lefser is the original ‘farm to table’ food, as people would take what they had available at the farm, i.e. grains, milk, and eggs and produce dishes from that.

Since there are so many different varieties of lefse, naturally you will see countless different ingredients and methods of making them. The Norwegian counties of Nordland and Trøndelag as well as western Norway (where I’m from) have a particularly wide range of lefse recipes.

Norwegian tjukklefser

In the eastern part of Norway, lefse is often made with potatoes and is also used as a kind of bread, often with savory toppings. Baking with boiled potatoes started becoming widespread in the 1800s when access to grains became difficult and this tradition has stayed alive, especially in eastern Norway.

There is a saying in Norway that goes “kjært barn har mange navn,” which means “a beloved child has many names.” 

This could certainly be applied to tjukklefse, which is a type of Norwegian lefse with origins in the county of Sør-Trøndelag and is frequently found in the northern part of the country. 

Other names include tjukklæms, mørlefse, and there’s also a version called pjalt in the Røros area that is similar, but more often served with savory toppings like butter and brown cheese instead of a sweet butter-sugar-cinnamon spread. 

Tjukklefser are thicker in dimension due to the addition of baking soda and baking powder and often also hartshorn, (hornsalt) as the name implies (tjukk means ‘thick’ in Norwegian). These lefser are more often enjoyed as a cake, and also sold in stores as packaged baked goods.

Norwegian tjukklefser

I wanted to try my hand at making these, as I only really got to try them a couple of times growing up while visiting a friend whose mom grew up in the north with the tradition of tjukklefse. I also have had the store-bought version, which left a lot to be desired in my opinion. 

The lefse my mom would make was typical for my home region of Møre og Romsdal. Which are made with wheat flour and are thin and soft and filled with a vanilla sugar and butter spread. Naturally to me, it is the superior version, but then again I would fight every other Norwegian and their opinion of the lefse they grew up with.

The beauty of food memories!

Some classic recipes for tjukklefse include syrup (sirup) and sour cream in the dough along with regular sugar, and I think I might try that the next time as I imagine there will be an added depth of flavor.

The great part about tjukklefse is you can make a whole grain version of this with less sugar, and bring it along on a hike during the day, or what Norwegians call “turmat”. 

If you don’t have a griddle, you can use a regular flat pan like a cast iron pan. With tjukklefse, it’s also common to place them on a sheet tray and bake in the oven at about 415° Fahrenheit (230° Celsius) for a few minutes until golden.

The lefser will freeze well so go ahead and make a double batch if you’re up for it!

Tjukklefser on griddle

TJUKKLEFSE (Norwegian Thick Flatbread)

Makes 12 lefser

For the lefser:

750 grams (4 ⅔ cups)  all-purpose flour
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon hartshorn (or sub baking soda)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
150 grams (5 1/4 oz) vegan butter, melted
1 ¼ cups (3 dl) non-dairy milk (I prefer organic soy here)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
⅓ cups vegan unsweetened, plain yogurt (I like Silk’s almond or soy yogurt or the Forager’s or So Delicious brand)

For the filling:

200 grams (7 oz) vegan butter
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk in the apple cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk and let sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to curdle. Mix in the vegan yogurt.

Make a little well in the center and pour in the melted butter and milk. Mix until just combined and you have formed a ball. The dough can be somewhat sticky, do not over-knead!

Tjukklefse dough

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge and let the dough rest for 1-2 hours (it will become easier to work with the dough this way and roll out the lefser). 

While the dough is resting, combine all the ingredients in the filling in a small bowl until smooth, and set aside. 

Once ready to make the sveler, heat up your griddle or pan on medium heat.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll each piece out to a circle about ¼ inch (½ cm) thick. If you prefer, you can weigh out each piece, they will be around 140 grams each.

Cook the lefse on the griddle for 1-2 minutes or so on each side until they are lightly brown with a few brown spots, time will vary according to the heat of your griddle or flat top. Place the lefse pieces on top of each other in a clean kitchen towel and cover while you finish all the pieces.

Spread a generous amount of the filling all across one lefse, place another lefse on top, and cut them in quarters.

Serve with coffee or your favorite beverage, in the company of your loved ones!

Norvegan Tjukklefse

A delicious thick Norwegian lefse with a butter, sugar and cinnamon filling and often served as a cake. A perfect afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Norwegian

Ingredients

  • 750 grams (4 ⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon hartshorn or sub baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 150 grams (5 1/4 oz) vegan butter melted
  • 1 ¼ cups (3 dl) non-dairy milk I prefer organic soy here
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • cups vegan unsweetened plain yogurt I like Silk’s almond or soy yogurt or the Forager’s or So Delicious brand
  • For the filling:
  • 200 grams (7 oz) vegan butter
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk and let sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to curdle. Mix in the vegan yogurt.
  • Make a little well in the center and pour in the melted butter and milk- mixture and combine until just combined and you have formed a ball. The dough can be somewhat sticky, do not over-knead!
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge and let the dough rest for 1-2 hours (it will become easier to work with the dough this way and roll out the lefser).
  • While the dough is resting, combine all the ingredients in the filling in a small bowl until smooth, and set aside.
  • Once ready to make the sveler, heat up your griddle or pan on medium heat. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and on a lighty floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll each piece out to a circle about ¼ inch (½ cm) thick. If you prefer, you can weigh out each piece, they will be around 140 grams each.
  • Cook the lefse for 1-2 minutes or so on each side on the griddle until they are lightly brown with a few brown spots, time will vary according to the heat of your griddle or flat top. . Place the lefse pieces on top of each other in a clean kitchen towel and cover while you finish all the pieces.
  • Spread a generous amount of the filling all across one lefse, place another lefse on top and cut them in quarters. Serve with coffee or your favorite beverage, in the company of your loved ones!

Notes

This recipe makes 12 sveler.
Norwegian tjukklefse
Norwegian tjukklefse
Norwegian tjukklefse
Norwegian tjukklefse
So yummy!!

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