This is my grandma’s cheese boereg recipe. There’s an Armenian phrase (that I’ll paste in here as soon as I can figure out how to spell it) that means “measure with your eyes,” and it’s kinda how Gma cooks. I don’t think she has looked at a recipe for these in years, but she referred me to The Armenian Cookbook and Rachel Hogrogian’s recipe. I’ve merged the ingredient list (slightly modified) from the book with the technique that Gma taught me.
2 lb muenster cheese, grated
1 jumbo or 2 medium eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lb phyllo dough (Gma reccommends Apollo #4)
unsalted butter, melted (you’ll need at least two sticks, possibly more)
Preheat the oven to 375 just before baking (this may be quite a while after you start folding, because boeregs take time).
Blend the cheese, egg, and parsley in a large bowl. You can run this filling mixture through a food processor if it makes you happy, but the cheese is just going to melt when the boeregs cook, so i just mash it all together with a fork.
Open up the package of phyllo dough, and cover the dough with a damp towel. This is basically the cardinal rule of working with phyllo dough: cover sheets of dough with a moist towel when not in use. Otherwise, it dries out and becomes cranky, and is un-fun to work with.
Take one sheet out from the stack at a time. Using a pastry brush, paint the entire surface of the sheet with melted butter. Pull out a second sheet of dough, and cover the buttered sheet. Line the two sheets up so they become one double-thick sheet of dough with butter sandwiched between.
Cut this double sheet into four long strips approximately 2 x 10 inches in size.
Place a small ball of filling at one end of each strip. The smaller end of a double-sided melon baller makes the perfect size ball for a small boereg, but as long as there isn’t so much filling that it gets in the way of folding the dough, you’re good.
Starting at the end with the filling, fold each strip over itself, in a triangle patter. “Like a flag,” my grandma says. I’ll sketch out a diagram soon.
Brush the top of each triangle with melted butter.
Continue to fold triangles until you’ve used up all of the filling.
Place finished boeregs on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter (yep, more melted butter), and bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until they’re flaky and golden brown.
Serve warm with cocktails.
You can freeze boeregs indefinitely, and unless you’re making them for a party, you’re going to want to freeze at least half of the batch. Brush them with butter, wrap in wax paper, and stash in a freezer bag. Thaw lightly before cooking, and they’ll taste just as good as if you folded them just a moment before.
Don’t like cheese? Or parsley? Or is this too plain? You can stuff these with anything you want. When I was a kid, my mum would make dessert boeregs with apples or cherries and cream cheese for the filling.
This recipe yields….a lot of boeregs. If they all come out nicely, you’re looking at 75+. I always manage to mess up a few, but that’s completely okay. If you rip the dough, or your triangles look awful, or you over-filled one, but it’s too late to unfold? Take the reject boeregs, rip them up into little bits, and place them all in a pie dish. Bake into a delicious, cheesy tart.