Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 12: Cheese Borek
Recipe submitted by Linda Hauck, Business Librarian
“Every few years, my Armenian grandfather showed up unannounced at our home for a stay for a couple of days…or weeks. My mother didn’t grow up living with her father so she wasn’t particularly familiar with Armenian culture, but my grandfather did make an effort to introduce us to Armenian cuisine, by going into the city (NY) to purchase sacks of pistachios, making yogurt and sweet dishes with katayef. He made cheese borek too. During one of those visits, on a walk around the neighborhood, he noticed an Armenian name on the post box. He wasn’t a shy man, so he knocked on the door and introduced himself to the family that lived there, the Cherovians. My parents became friends with the Cherovians.
Years later when I was my last year of high school, Mr. Cherovian had passed and Mrs. Rose Cherovian was unwell. Mrs. Cherovian invited my mother and I over for an afternoon to make cheese borek. She was too weak to do the work herself, so she talked my mother and I through process. We assembled a huge pile of cheese borek to be shared and made a lasting memory. Every time I make cheese borek, I appreciate Mrs. Rose Cherovian’s kindness and my mom.”
- 1 lb Phyllo Dough* (Phyllo dough from the supermarket sometimes isn’t fresh, cracks and breaks apart. Armenian Delight in Broomall consistently has fresh phyllo dough).
- 1 lb ricotta cheese.
- 12 oz jack cheese shredded.
- 12 oz feta cheese crumbled.
- 2 eggs.
- 1 bunch dill chopped.
- 1 bunch parsley chopped.
- ¾ lb butter.
- Combine the cheeses, eggs, and herbs to make the filling.
- Melt the butter.
- Cut the phyllo dough in half. You should have two rectangular sets of dough. Wrap half the dough and return it to the refrigerator. Place the second half on the counter and cover with a clean dish towel.
- Place two pieces of dough side by side on the counter. Work quickly because the phyllo can dry out and become difficult to work with. Sprinkle the dough with butter and quickly brush it out a bit.
- Fold the right side of the dough 1/3 over and the left side 1/3 over so you have a strip of dough about 2-3 inches wide and maybe 10 or 11 inches long.
- Place a generous table spoon of the cheese mixture 1 or 2 inches from the bottom of the strip of dough.
- Fold or tuck the dough over the cheese mixture into and triangle and repeat until you have used all the dough. Tuck the end of the dough into the last fold and add a bit of butter to seal.
- Bake in the oven at about 350 degrees until they are golden brown.
- You will have many of these tasty appetizers. You can freeze them, but be sure to use wax or parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.