The Persian is a variation of the Pershing, a doughnut made from a yeast dough that is coiled with cinnamon and usually finished with a plain sugar glaze rather than pink icing. Pershings are widely available at doughnut shops elsewhere in North America.
Traditional lore is that the Persian was named for U.S. general John 'Blackjack' Pershing but the exact date of its inception and circumstances of its creation are no longer known, giving rise to competing claims and myths among people in the region. Its recipe remains a general secret with long-running debates on whether the icing contains raspberries or strawberries. Persians are often used fundraising items to be sold at schools, churches, shopping malls, and other social events.