2022.11.18.EMG.SMF.cheeseboragillustration

Stella Fetherston/Daily Emerald

Thanksgiving is easily one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. Every year we visit my dad’s side of the family, and we come together over a bountiful Thanksgiving feast. On top of the delicious flavors of green beans, mashed potatoes and turkey, there’s one Thanksgiving staple in our family that will always be my favorite. 

My grandma’s cheese borag is always the dish I look forward to most. One of my fondest memories and traditions is making cheese borag with my grandma on Thanksgiving day. These flaky triangular pastries are filled with a variety of cheeses that come together in the most satisfying way. 

Cheese borag is a traditional Armenian pastry consisting of phyllo dough, ricotta cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, eggs, parsley and unsalted butter. While most borag recipes tend to be on the savory side, there are some sweeter recipes out there for dessert lovers.

Making cheese borag can be quite the process, and after prepping the few ingredients needed, you can begin the repetitive steps to making the best cheese borag. It can be a messy meal to make so use plastic wrap or wax paper to save you the hassle of cleaning up afterward.

This recipe will supply you with enough cheese borag to feed an entire family. If you want to save any for a later date, place your uncooked cheese borags into a ziplock bag in the freezer to be cooked another time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package phyllo dough

  • 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup of parsley finely chopped

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

Instructions:

  1. Remove your phyllo dough from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to starting. This will help thaw the phyllo dough and make it more pliable.

  2. Cover your work surface with wax paper. This recipe is a guaranteed mess, but placing a wax paper cover will ensure an easy cleanup!

  3. In a large bowl, combine the Monterey Jack, ricotta cheese, egg and chopped parsley together.

  4. In a smaller bowl, melt your stick of unsalted butter in the microwave and let sit.

  5. Prepare two or more baking sheets for your folded cheese borag to rest on.

  6. Unroll your phyllo dough and cut it in half lengthwise. Once your phyllo dough is exposed to air, it will become hard to work with. Be sure to cover your phyllo dough with a damp paper towel to keep it pliable.

  7. Grab a sheet of phyllo dough and lay it down on your wax paper. Fold your phyllo dough in half lengthwise. Scoop a spoonful of butter onto your phyllo dough and spread out using a cooking brush or your fingers.

  8. Scoop a small amount of your cheese mixture onto the top of your phyllo dough. Fold your phyllo dough like a flag from corner to corner until you have a nice triangular shape. Continue folding all the way down your sheet of phyllo dough until you’ve used up the entire sheet. Dab a little melted butter on the final fold of your cheese borag to keep the dough in place. Place your cheese borag onto your baking sheet.

  9. Repeat until you’ve used up all of your phyllo dough and your cheese filling, and your baking sheets are filled.

  10. Set your oven to 350°F and place your baking sheets in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until your cheese borag are golden brown.

  11. Serve and enjoy!

Opinion Columnist

Lauren is an opinion columnist for the Daily Emerald. She is a third-year advertising student at UO. She is a Bay Area native with a strong passion for healthy food, digital art and creative writing.