Anyone who is from or who is familiar with the Lehighton area likely knows what a "Persian" is – a doughnut made famous years ago by Young's Bakery.
With the closing of the Lehighton Bakery last Saturday, it looks like the storied doughnut may be coming to the "end of the line."
"Lehighton Bakery is coming to an end," said Pam Gothard. "With the recent death of my father-in-law (William "Bill" Gothard), it's just become too much for us."
Gothard and her husband, Bill "Andy," and his family have owned the bakery for the past 10 years.
The Gothard family is planning one final "hurrah" for the Persian. A "Persian Doughnut Retirement Party" is in the works for some time in February at Lehighton Bakery – possibly Sunday, Feb. 17 or 24. Final plans will be announced once determined.
The anticipated celebration will include "Pap" Young – credited with inventing the Persian doughnut locally for Young's Bakery.
The Persian is a cinnamon bun-like pastry covered with a vanilla or chocolate icing and topped off with a dollop of cherry strawberry glaze.
The history of the Persian is a little cloudy. While Young's Bakery certainly popularized the pastry in the Lehighton area, a variation of the doughnut is said to have originated in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. This Persian is topped with a pink icing made of either raspberries or strawberries.
Another variation is well known in Wisconsin. This Persian typically has white icing and toppings such as crushed peanuts or coconut.
According to traditional lore, the Persian doughnut was named for World War I United States General John "Blackjack" Pershing – thus also being referred to as the "Pershing" doughnut. Over the years, it has become popular for fundraising for schools, churches, and other organizations.
Young's Bakery was located at the corner of Fourth and Mahoning Streets in Lehighton – now the home of Verona Pizza House. Following a near 50-year run, the family bakery turned off its ovens for the last time on Nov. 22, 1995.
A cousin of the Gothards worked for Young's Bakery and the Persian found its way to Lehighton Bakery – touted as the "Home of the Pershing Donut" for the past 10 years.