|Nina Yousefian (seated, lower left) with 4 generations of her family|
After acquiring Nina’s permission to write about her, she shared this with me:
“The cheese combination (for the boreg filling) is really my own. I started to use the combination some 3-4 years ago when our Sunday School would have its Christmas decorating party and the Sunday School kids would make them. The combination was yummy, and it made some 80 boregs so I stuck with it.
Also, I entered a cheese boreg and another (recipe) for the Orange County Fair (CA) and I took first place and ‘best in show’ ".
Nina's Background and Inspiration:Nina was born in Iran and came to America at age 4 with her family. They settled in Philadelphia where she lived until getting married in 1991. She’s been baking since she was about 12years old, with an emphasis on sweets. Her mother was quite the cookie expert as well as a great cook. Her real inspiration came from her grandmother who was an expert baker, making the best choregs, lavash,yalanchi, payleh boreg (or "paklaov buerag" that’s filled with potatoes, fava beans and onions), monte, and her own yogurt.
Unfortunately, both her mother and grandmother passed away when Nina was 19. She was lucky in the sense that all of her aunts were either great cooks and/or bakers.Since Nina’s husband is Persian-Armenian, she still makes his favorite Persian inspired dishes. From Philadelphia, she and her husband moved to Oklahoma, where they raised 3 sons. After moving with her family to California in 2004, Nina continued to learn more cooking techniques from the Ladies Society of St. Mary, in Costa Mesa, CA where she is an active member, as well as from the women from Forty Martyrs Armenian Church in nearby Santa Ana.
Here is Nina’s Cheese Boreg recipe which yields approximately 80 pieces:Filling Ingredients:
1 x 15 oz. tub of ricotta cheese
1 lb. muenster cheese, cut into small cubes
1 lb. shredded mozzarella
1/2 lb. shredded cheddar cheese (use the type that is a blend)
1/2 to 1 bunch of chopped, fresh parsley, preferably flat Italian with the stems removed.
3 pkgs. of 15 - 9" puff pastry squares (this should make close to 80 boregs)
Directions:· mix the above ingredients together
· cut the puff pastry dough into 5”x5”squares
· place a heaping Tbsp. near one corner of each square.
. fold the dough over the filling to create a triangle
· pinch edges together or close with a fork.
· brush with an egg wash
· sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional)
· bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Nina’s Notes:1. before or after the egg wash step, the boregs can be frozen.
2. leftover puff pastry dough can be frozen.
3. leftover filling makes a great omelet, so nothing goes to waste.