Mavish is as much a pastry as is a cookie--a rose-shaped Armenian specialty that is deep-fried and then drizzled with sugar syrup and walnuts. I first learned about it from a late friend, Araxy Arganian, who said the word mavish means "nothing," as in, the pastries are so light it's as if you're eating nothing. "Mavish is kept on hand during the holidays to share with neighbors who stop by," Araxy told me. "The tradition is to offer it to widows and widowers."
Beat eggs, salt and 1 tablespoon water in bowl. Beat in melted shortening. In separate bowl, mix baking powder with 1 cup flour; stir into egg mixture. Beat in 1 cup flour. Gradually beat in up to 1 more cup of flour, until medium-soft dough forms. Transfer to floured work surface; knead 6-8 minutes. Form dough into 3 balls; cover with cloth. Let stand 1 hour.
Roll out one ball on a floured surface into a circle thatís 24-30 inches in diameter. Cut circle into 2-inch wide strips.
Heat oil to 3-inch depth in a large, deep, heavy pan or deep-fat fryer until a small piece of dough puffs immediately when immersed in oil. Using a long fork, thread fork tines perpendicularly onto end of a dough strip. Then, use one hand to lift the fork by its handle and use the other hand to lift the loose end of dough strip. Immerse fork tines in the hot oil and, as the dough fries, rotate the fork until the entire strip is wrapped around it. The dough will puff up enough so that you can slide the pastry off the fork; continue to fry it until golden, 5-10 seconds. Remove; drain on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining strips and dough balls.
Make a syrup by simmering sugar in 1 1/2 cups water for 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice; cool 10 minutes. Dip and twirl pastries in syrup, letting excess syrup drain off. Place pastries on platter; sprinkle with nuts.
Copyright by Terese Allen