Monday, September 9, 2019

Simit: A recipe from Fresno's Holy Trinity Armenian Church Guild Cookbook: ‘Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes'

In 1970, Fresno, CA's Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church Ladies’ Guild members and their friends decided to come together to publish the first 'Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes' cookbook. 
‘Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes' cookbook.  

This comprehensive, easy to follow recipe collection is available for sale, and is a must for anyone who is interested in making traditional and authentic Armenian dishes (as well as many American specialties) including kufta, keyma, shish kebab, harissah, pilaf, lamb shanks, dolma, basterma, yalanchi, sarma, lahmajoon, monti, chorag, gata, cheese berag, paklava, bourma, lavash, shakarishee, and roejig, to list a few.  

Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, Fresno, CA
Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church is the oldest Armenian church in the Western United States, and the oldest standing Armenian church in the country.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 31, 1986.  
Christine Vartanian Datian’s parents and family have belonged to the church since about 1907 when her grandfather and his family emigrated to Fresno from Bitlis, Turkey.  

Armenian culinary traditions are over 2000 years old.  Armenian cuisine is as ancient as its history, and the land it is standing on. 

According to the cookbook’s introduction, Plutarch said that Ancient Armenia was “a land that abounded in all sorts of plenty.” 

Christine adds, “Many of the cookbook’s celebrated and beloved Armenian recipes have survived years of war, genocide, forced migration and assimilation, yet still exist today. That millions of families from around the world continue to make and enjoy these recipes feels like a miracle.”

Simit: One of the treasured recipes from 'Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes' cookbook.  
Holy Trinity Church Armenian Bread Sticks (Simit)
Yield: About 45 pieces

4 cups flour
1 cube butter at room temperature (Note: 1 cube is equivalent to 1 stick or 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dry yeast cake, dissolved in warm water (Note: 1 dry yeast cake is equivalent to one (1/4-ounce) packet of dry yeast - or - 2- 1/4 teaspoons of active dry or instant active dry yeast.)
2 tablespoons madzoon (plain yogurt) or sour cream
1 tablespoon whiskey or brandy, optional
1-2 large eggs, beaten
Sesame seeds as garnish


Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, blend the flour, butter, shortening, and salt together until well combined.

Add the yeast, sour cream or madzoon (plain yogurt), and brandy (if using).

Mix and knead well.  Let dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Take small amount of dough each time, roll pencil thin (about 6 inches long), and twist into a braid.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and brush tops with beaten egg. 
Lightly sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, do not burn.  Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks.

If you are interested in ordering a copy of the cookbook, please call or email:
Ms. Nazik Arisian
Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church
2226 Ventura St.
Fresno, CA 93721
Church Office: (559) 486-1141

The cost to purchase a copy of the cookbook is $20.00 plus $5.00 for shipping.
Make check payable to: Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church.

Thank You!

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