When I was a little girl, my granny, who lived in Fort Thomas Kentucky, used to go to Klostermann's Bakery. She would bring me melt-in-your-mouth rolls they called "butterbits" and these things the size of your hand that were chocolate doughnut dough balls, deep-fried and then glazed... and these things called Pershing Doughnuts. Out of curiosity, I looked these up, an found that what they describeÂ below does not quite match my memory of a cinnamon-roll made out of doughnut dough coiled to a peak in the center, with lovely white icing on it. Possibly even a cream cheese icing...Â
Did your area have these doughnuts? If so, do they resemble my description or the ones below? Also: anyone out there ever have "butterbits"? It seems to be a Cincinnati-area thing, if this article is any indication...
TheÂ Q & A below came from this webpage.Â
Q. Do you happen to know the origin of the Pershing donut? Was it named after U.S. Army Gen. John Pershing of WWI? . . . Sometimes I see Persians in bakeries; is this a mistaken name for Pershings?
A. Silly me - I thought this would be easy to track down.
Here's what I did learn:
During World War I, the Salvation Army stepped up to join the Doughboys at the front. At first they were treated with indifference. Then, one day in 1917, in a camp in France, after 36 days of rain, Salvation Army "lassies" decided to make doughnuts. Using limited rations and an open stove, and a wine bottle as a rolling pin, they turned out 150 doughnuts.
The holey treats were an instant hit and soon became a staple at the front (up to 9,000 made in a day). The doughnut also became a permanent symbol of the Salvation Army.
Oh yeah, and Gen. Pershing was said to like these doughnuts, too (though this is never stated outright in Salvation Army accounts).
As for Persians, the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario (on Lake Superior near the Minnesota border), lays claim to this pastry. Like the Pershing, it's raised-dough pastry treat, but oval-shaped and with a sweet, pink icing made of either raspberries or strawberries. The story goes that this confection was indeed named in honor of the general.
I say, who cares how either one gots its name - just enjoy it!