Boregs are from Armenia. All are made by wrapping phyllo (or pastry) dough around a filling.
The filling in this recipe is a combination of cheeses and herbs. Some recipes use filings that contain meat, typically lamb.
I also came up with a lemon-honey glaze that resembles a glaze from the old, and now long gone, Max and Son restaurant in Daly City, California - a rather unique place that was half New York deli and half Chinese.
These are not diet food.
This recipe is still under development.
This recipe is derived from Borag, bereg, boreg, boereg … they all spell delicious!
You will need the typical collection of mixing bowls and measuring cups and spoons.
You will also need:
- Double boiler
- Pastry brush
- Slightly damp dish towel
- Baking pans with non-stick pads or parchment paper
- 8 oz. Monterey Jack or Muenster cheese (shredded)
- 1 15-oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 egg (slightly beaten)
- 3 (or more) cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- 1/3 cup (or more) slivers of green scallion
- 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) dried onion flakes
- Optional: 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) chives (reduce the amount of scallions accordingly.)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon (tsp) chopped shallot
- 1lb (0.5kg) package phyllo dough (thawed)
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 clove garlic (minced or pressed)
- 2/3 cup maltose (this could be hard to find unless you have a good Asian market nearby.)
- Hot water as needed
- 2 teaspoon (tsp) lemon zest (Meyer lemons seem to work best, an interesting substitute would be tangerine or Mandarine orange.) Don’t skimp on this.
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) crushed red pepper (like used on pizza). Be careful, this can add a lot of heat to the glaze.
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (tsp) toasted sesame oil (this may be hard to find.)
- 1 to 3 teaspoons (tsp) honey
- 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) sesame seeds
- 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) chopped mint leaves (I use Moroccan mint - it grows nicely in our garden)
Preheat the oven to 350F (I use a convection setting for more even baking.)
Filling and Folding the Borags
If your phyllo is frozen, take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Take the phyllo dough out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before using. Once phyllo dough is exposed to air, it dries out very quickly, becomes brittle, and is impossible to use. Be sure to have plastic wrap and a slightly damp cloth towel. (Use a towel that has a smooth weave, not a towel with a lot of nap.) Cover the dough to keep it pliable while you fold the borags. The dough will disintegrate if it gets too wet and it may stick to a towel with nappy surface.)
While the phyllo is coming to room temperature melt the butter and add the clove of minced/pressed garlic.
If using large phyllo sheets, cut the phyllo dough in half, lengthwise. The result should be strips of phyllo that are about 4 inches (100mm) wide and 12 inches (300mm) long. You will use one strip for each borag. Keep the unused phyllo sheets damp by covering them with the damp towel.
For each borag, place a heaping teaspoonful (tsp) of filling at the end of the folded dough that’s closest to you. Be careful not to use too much filling. Begin folding, as though you were folding a flag – on the diagonal from corner to corner, creating a triangular shape. I usually gently press it flat after the first triangle is made. Use the melted garlic butter to glue down any excess dough. (Some recipes recommend painting the dough with the melted butter - I find that this is unnecessary because of the high fat content of the cheese filling.)
You can pack the folded triangles fairly closely on the baking sheet.
Continue to do this until you run out of filling, dough, or baking sheet space.
Making the Glaze
You can make the glaze while the boregs are baking if you have pre-heated the water in the double boiler.
The water in the double boiler should be near boiling, but ought not to be bubbling. I usually get the water to a boil and then turn off the heat and just use the latent heat of the hot water.
Scoop the maltose out of its container - I use a butter knife for this - and into the double boiler.
Add the sesame oil, crushed peppers. honey, and lemon zest; stir them together.
Add small amounts (no more than teaspoon at a time) of hot water to the glaze mixture to get to get the hot viscosity amenable to being brushed (while hot) onto the baked boregs.
Keep the resulting glaze hot so that you will be able to brush it onto the boregs when they come out of the oven.
Baking and Glazing the Borags
Bake for 15-20 minutes - until light golden brown. You may need to rotate the baking sheets at the halfway time. Keep a close watch to avoid burning.
Immediately upon taking the sheets of hot boregs from the oven brush them with the hot glaze then drizzle the sticky glaze with some sesame seeds, chopped parsley, and chopped mint.
Let them cool for several minutes.
Serve warm. (You can refrigerate the uneaten ones and re-heat them the next day.)