Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Love is... Cheese Beoreg!
I am a very proud one-quarter Armenian. My grandfather on my mother's side is 100% and his sister, my great Auntie Ruth has told me some incredible stories over the years. Her husband, my great Uncle Vee, was loved by all -- the sweetest kindest soul. I have so many fond memories of him from when I was a little girl playing with my cousins at their house for Christmas. I learned from my Auntie, who is now ninety "something" and making it look like the new seventy, that Uncle Vee's mother was pregnant with him when she and her family were sent on a death march during the First Genocide of the 20th Century. It is nothing short of miraculous they survived, but that is another story...
Some of the best memories of growing up with my grandmother and getting to spend a lot of time with my cousins, aunts and uncles were the holidays. Thanksgiving or Christmas at Auntie Ruth's meant overflowing platters of hand rolled Sarma (beautiful grape leaves stuffed with rice and raisins with lots of lemon squeezed over the top), fancy Rice Pilaf with date and nut topping... and Cheese Beoreg!
These heavenly cheese filled rectangles were so popular that when my cousin Deneen was an adult, there suddenly appeared a custom painted platter for the Beoregs that had been sectioned off with her section being giant and "everyone elses" being the tiny little corner. I wish I had a picture of that platter to share here! Anyway - you get the idea.
The great thing about this is that you can make as many as you want ahead of time and freeze them. The following recipe makes 36 Beoregs.
2 boxes Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
1 lb. Jack Cheese, shredded
8 oz. Feta Cheese, crumbled
Few rounds of fresh ground Black Pepper
*2 tbs. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped (optional)*
Note for assembly: You will need cutting board, flour, knife, fork, spoon and little dish of water. Also, freezer bags if you plan on making ahead.
Thaw puff pastry sheets at room temp.
In mixing bowl combine cheeses, egg, pepper and parsley*
Sprinkle cutting board with a bit of flour and give just a couple of rolls each way to the pastry sheet (don't stretch too much).
I place the pastry sheet so that the lines from folds are horizontal and I can cut nice squares. Like this:
Each sheet of pastry will yeild 9 beoregs.
Using a tablespoon, place a small amount on pastry (as shown), then use a knife to cut down and across twice to separate. Dipping your finger in the water, dampen the outer edge of the pastry, then fold over and seal around the three edges with fork.
I have always prepared mine ahead so these baking instructions are for frozen Beoregs.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place Beoregs on baking sheet (non-stick or sprayed with PAM), brush with egg wash and bake on middle rack for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them!
Hope you'll try them and let me know what you think!
Love and Big Bachik (kiss!)