I love bringing Armenian appetizers to get-togethers. Armenian cheese boereg is one of those apps that most people have tried, and it’s very popular. It’s literally a bite-sized, sophisticated grilled-cheese sandwich. Friends are always impressed with this appetizer, and they always ask how it’s made. I’m delighted now to direct them to this page!
You can make the filling to your taste. Don’t like the taste of feta? Use cheddar. Not a fan of parsley? Leave it out. If you have a mountain of cheese sitting in your fridge, defrost your phyllo dough and make some boereg! You can try any combination of cheeses. I’m sharing my grandmother’s recipe for Armenian cheese boereg here. She added half a grated onion and a pinch of Aleppo pepper for extra flavour. There are a few different ways to make this appetizer. You can also make it by layering phyllo sheets on a pan with a layer of cheese in the middle.
How to Make Cheese Boereg
You will need to defrost your phyllo dough overnight in the fridge and make sure you have a damp towel to cover the unused dough as you fold your triangles. Most recipes call for butter (I like salted!), however my grandmother taught me to use a combination of butter and canola oil to make the boereg even flakier and not as heavy as in an all-butter recipe. Just a warning, if you do use all-butter, go lighter with the brush otherwise they will turn into bricks of cheese and butter once you cool them! I tried these with just butter as I’ve seen with other recipes, but I always come back to my grandmother’s tried and true technique of mixing the oil with the butter.
Nigella seeds are those small black seeds that are found in ‘tel baneer’ (Armenian string cheese) or savoury cookies and breads. I love the earthy taste they give to cheese boereg, but if you can’t find them you can leave them out.
I have made boereg in advance, frozen them and baked them straight out of the freezer. Lightly brush your pan with oil and bake them until golden brown.
Cheese Boereg / Feta Phyllo Triangles
Flaky cheese boereg can be made with any combination of cheeses. This popular Armenian mezze can be made in advance and frozen.
- 1 package phyllo dough, defrosted
- 2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup melting cheese, grated (mozzarella or Monterey jack)
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup onion, grated
- 1/4 cup parsley, grated finely
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1/4 salted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Nigella seeds (optional)
Combine filling ingredients, set aside
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a pan
Remove defrosted phyllo dough from box, spread open and cover with damp towel
Melt butter and mix with oil
Remove one sheet of phyllo and brush all over with butter/oil mix
Cut the phyllo sheet down the middle vertically and fold each 1/2 sheet in half, so you have two long strips of dough
Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese mix at the bottom right corner of the dough strip
Fold the left side over the cheese to form a triangle point. Fold up and over again, as though you're folding a flag.
Keep folding until you have a triangle - brush tops with butter/oil and sprinkle with nigella seeds (if using)
Place in prepared pan and bake until golden brown.
I have made boereg in advance, frozen them and baked them straight out of the freezer. Lightly brush your pan with oil and bake them until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes -- I keep checking at 20 minutes until they are the right colour.