The choir at St. David Armenian Church, Boca Raton, FL recently hosted their annual Armenian Christmas brunch after services. One of the featured menu items was Basimet – a cross between simit and chorag, according to my friend (and choir member) Louise Apoian, who was kind enough to share her family’s recipe. (Spellings vary, so one might find the recipe listed as ‘basimit’ or ‘Bah Simit’.) Louise's recipe was handed down from her aunt, Voco Kalafian, originally from Marsivan.
|Apoian family's Basimet|
Baskets of basimet and platters of Armenian string cheese kept eager parishioners' hunger at bay until the brunch was actually served. Somewhat sweeter than chorag, the basimet, along with the slightly salty shreds of cheese, were a welcome treat for our taste buds and tummies!
Here is the Apoian family’s recipe for Basimet:
1 cup melted margarine or butter
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 cup milk
About 6 to 7 cups flour, sifted (Louise uses pre-sifted flour to save time!)
2 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top of egg wash, optional
1. Melt butter (or margarine); allow to cool a bit.
2. Add sugar and milk to the melted butter; stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into a large bowl; beat in eggs.
3. In a separate bowl, add 5 cups of the sifted flour and the rest of the dry ingredients.
4. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, adding more of the flour as needed to create a dough that is not sticky and easy to handle.
5. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough, roll into ropes, and twist. NOTE: The basimet can also be braided, made into S-shapes, circles, etc.
6. Place basimet pieces onto parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash; sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
7. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.