Bishi (Armenian Zeppole)
Margie, a reader of our blog from Pennsylvania, had a special request for us — to help find a recipe her grandmother used to make. The recipe, bishi, is deep-fried dough — lighter than doughnuts, more like a crueller sprinkled with sugar.
This is a slight variation of a recipe from our cousin, Alice Bakalian.
*Note: The frying oil can usually be reused, unless burning occurs. Allow the oil to cool, strain to remove any bits, and place the oil in a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator.
**Note: You can also use a deep-fryer or a deep pot. If using a deep-fryer, fill with oil up to the fill line, or if there isn't one, about halfway up. If using a deep pot, fill the pot about halfway with oil. For this method, it's essential to have a deep-fat thermometer which clips to the side of the pot.
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cups lukewarm water (about 105-110 degrees)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying, or more as needed*
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Mix the flour, baking powder, and eggs in a bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture until blended. Let stand 20 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken and rise.
Meanwhile, add the oil to an electric skillet, and heat to 375 degrees.** Test with a small amount of dough — drop it in hot oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fry until golden brown all around. Don't place too many dollops of batter in the hot oil at once. (Crowding causes the oil temperature to drop and the bishi will soak up too much oil and become unpleasantly greasy.) After frying, drain on paper towels, then dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.