from Emma Christensen
Makes 16 flatbreads

1 pound starchy or all-purpose potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
1 - 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Peel the potatoes and cut them into large, uniformly-shaped chunks. Place in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Over medium-high heat, bring the water and the potatoes to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are very soft and easily pierced with a fork, 10-12 minutes from the start of the boil. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Using a potato masher, potato ricer, or a dinner fork, mash the potatoes as thoroughly as possible; you don't want any lumps. Cut the butter into small chunks and mix it with the potatoes. Add the cream and salt. Keep mixing until the butter and cream are completely absorbed. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Transfer the potatoes to a storage container and refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

When ready to make the lefse, clear a large workspace for dividing and rolling out the flatbreads. Lefse are traditionally made with grooved wooden rolling pins, but a standard rolling pin {or a wine bottle} will do the job just fine. A pastry scraper or sharp spatula for lifting and transferring the rolled-out flatbreads is also handy.

Mix the mashed potatoes with 1 cup of the flour. At first this will be very crumbly and floury, but the mixture will gradually start coming together. Turn the dough out on the counter and knead once or twice to bring it together into a smooth ball. Roll it into a thick log and then divide it into 16 equal portions for small 6-8" lefse or 8 equal portions for large 10-12" lefse.

Roll each portion of dough between your palms to form a ball (4cm diameter). Cover all the balls with a clean dishtowel off to one side of your workspace.

Set a cast iron skillet or flat grill pan over medium-high heat. When a bead of water sizzles when flicked on the pan, it's ready.

Dust your workspace and rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll one of the rounds of dough in the flour and then press it into a thick disk with the heel of your hand. Working from the center out, roll the dough into as thin a circle as you can manage. Lift, move, and flip the dough frequently as you work to make sure it's not sticking. Use more flour as needed.

Roll the lefse gently onto the rolling pin, as if you were transferring pie dough, and lay it in the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until speckled with golden-brown spots. Transfer the cooked lefse to a plate and cover with another clean dish towel.

While one lefse is cooking, roll out the next one. Keep all the cooked lefse under the towel to keep them warm and prevent them from drying out. If the lefse start to stick to the pan, melt a small pat of butter in the pan and wipe it away with a paper towel to leave only a very thin coating of fat on the pan.

Spread the lefse with your topping of choice and roll it up to eat. Leftover lefse can stacked with wax paper between the layers to prevent sticking and kept refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for three months. They can be eaten cold from the fridge or warmed for a few seconds in the microwave.

i want crumblier cookies and flakier empanadas!

crumblier = short (like shortbread)
not the same as shortcrust: this is the kind of pastry i am used to making for quiches and tarts, pâte brisée, pâte sucrée, etc.
puff pastry is super flaky. this is made like croissant, by rolling layers of dough with butter.

findings:

1. butter is used for flavor, not texture. butter makes things HARD.

2. shortbread/crumbly cookies: 2parts fat/3parts flour (and 1 part sugar) (and fat is always butter)

3. short crust: 1 part fat/2 parts flour (sugar, for sweet crusts a couple of tbsp) better to use only part butter or no butter. lard desirable. keep fats cold (could grate frozen fat) while mixing with flour. then add water to bind. (our empanada recipe called for alcohol to bind!)

4. puff pastry: buy it from the freezer section of the grocery store

for precise info on crumbling and flaking see this report

This is closer to a focaccia dough than a traditional pizza dough. it's chewier and saltier, which we prefer.

dissolve 2 1/2 tsp fresh or dry yeast in 1 cup warm (body temperature) water. use the inside of your wrist to gauge the water. if the water feels neither hot nor cold on your wrist, it's close to body temperature.

add 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of sugar

stir in 2 cups of flour. you can substitute up to one cup of cornmeal. keep adding flour until you can't stir any more.

dump the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, keep adding flour to control stickiness. eventually it should not be sticky at all.

for pizza:

put the dough in a bowl oiled with olive oil, turn over to coat. cover with a towel and let rise for 30-40 minutes.

divide dough in half pat into ovals about 1/2" thick.

brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, add toppings.

let rise 20 minutes.

bake at 375 until golden brown on bottom and edges

for focaccia

take a large baking sheet or oven tray and coat with plenty of olive oil. dump the dough in there and spread it as flat as you can.After 30-45 minutes come back for a visit. The dough will be more relaxed than before. Pour a lot of olive oil on it. Push straight down on it with all of your fingers and convince it to spread out onto the whole pan. Leave finger holes on it. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, salt, caramelized onions, olives... push them down roughly into the dough. Let it rise again as long as possible.

Focaccia is "over-risen" dough, so the longer you leave it the fluffier it will be. You can let it rise for 3 hours.

Bake for 20 minutes until you see some golden brown.

 

Combine:

  • cooked pasta
  • butter
  • raw tomatoes
  • salt

Ingredient notes:

There's only one place we know of in the Boston area to purchase fresh pasta, Dave's at 81 Holland Street in Somerville. We prefer plain egg pasta for this recipe. The cut of pasta we requested is the widest, papardelle.
However, unless you live very close to there, you can make pasta faster than you can drive there. Here's our recipe:
http://www.viand.net/doughs.html
The pasta recipe is the last one on the page. Scroll down.
And it will taste even better than Dave's.

• We use Organic Valley "cultured" butter in the yellow box. Horizon is like Microsoft. There are also a lot of local butters that are very good. We use about 1/2 a stick per pound of pasta. The butter is key to the flavor, don't underdo it.

• Make sure the tomatoes are Ripe. (It's the end of the season, you'll be lucky if you can find any now.) The way we like to cut them is to sort of hack off odd shaped chunks. This loses less juice than if you chop them. Do NOT peel. Push the juice from your cutting board into the bowl, don't throw it away!

• We use Maldon sea salt which is big and crunchy and mild. You can buy it at Formaggio's kitchen or whole foods, but this dish will be fine with regular salt.