Thunder Bay Persian Rolls

45 min
18 servings

If you’ve ever been to Thunder Bay, Ontario, you may have been lucky enough to try a “Persian”—a yeast-risen, fried cinnamon sweet roll, frosted with a pink berry-flavoured icing—from one of their local bakeries. Now you can make them at home for a truly Canadian experience right in your own kitchen.

You might also like these Great Canadian Desserts.



Sweet Roll

cup granulated sugar
cup warm water (100ºF/38ºC)
package (8 g) active dry yeast
cup milk
cup butter, softened
tsp salt
egg, lightly beaten
cups all-purpose flour (approx.)
cup packed light brown sugar
tsp cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for frying


cup frozen raspberries or strawberries, thawed
cup butter, softened
cups icing sugar
tbsp 35% whipping cream


Step 1

In a large bowl, dissolve 1 tsp of the granulated sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast; let it stand until the mixture is frothy, about 10 minutes.

Step 2

2. Meanwhile, heat the milk on top of the stove or in microwave just until bubbles form around edge. Remove from the heat; add 1/4 cup of the butter, the remaining granulated sugar and the salt. Let stand until the butter is melted. Let cool until lukewarm; stir the milk mixture and the egg into the yeast mixture. Add 2 cups of the flour; stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, ragged dough.

Step 3

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl; turn the dough to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Step 4

4. Melt the remaining butter. On a floured work surface and with floured hands, pat out the dough to 16- x 14-inch (40 x 35 cm) rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough lightly with the melted butter. Mix brown sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border at the long end furthest from you. Starting at the long end closest to you, tightly roll up dough; pinch the seam to seal. With a chef’s knife, cut crosswise into 18 buns. Arrange the buns on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets leaving 2 inches (5 cm) between the rolls. Flatten slightly into ovals. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Step 5

In a deep fryer, wok or deep saucepan, heat 2 inches (5 cm) oil until thermometer reads 350°F (180°C). In batches, gently transfer rolls to hot oil, turning once, until golden and puffed, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels. Transfer to a rack; let cool.

Step 6

In large bowl, beat together the raspberries and butter. (The mixture will look separated.) Gradually beat in sugar alternately with cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream. Spread over the cooled rolls.

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