Monday, May 12, 2014

Recipe: Soo Berag

Soo Berag is an Armenian pastry, though my husband insists on calling it "Armenian Lasagna".

And I would have to agree; the dough is very similar to pasta sheets or lasagna sheets. Which would make one wonder why would you go through the trouble of making your own dough and rolling it out by hand? Especially when we live in a time that pasta rollers are readily available to the home chef. Because, its the experience, if nothing else, that is all I have.  It's the experience that transforms my kitchen to my grandmother's farm house, and I imagine her rolling out the dough on her tile counter-tops.

While the husband was away at a bachelor party I calmed my bump-in-the-night paranoia's with baking, despite that what I was mostly doing was boiling dough. After you boil the sheets of dough they are layered with butter, MonterreyJack cheese and parsley.

It is definitely an arm-workout if you don't have a pasta roller. After making this recipe I feel the need to invest in one; if for nothing else, perfecting the visual nature of this dish.

It came out a little rustic, definitely rough around the edges. But it was good, so good that the Husband finished the pan when he came home.

4 cups sifted flour
4 eggs
1/4 cup water (add until dough combines)
2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
1/4 -1/2 cup dried parsley
1/2 a stick of melted butter for brushing the dough

 To make the dough, mix the flour and eggs in a mixer at a low speed until combined. Gradually add  water until dough comes together. Once it has come together let sit in a bowl with a kitchen towel over it for 4 hours.  This is to bring it to room temperature and make the dough more pliable for rolling.

I divided the dough with a bread cutter into 8 portions and cut those in half to make a total of 16 sheets. They were not symmetrical by any means.

As I was rolling the dough, I boiled a large pan with water in it. I used a pan and not a pot because it was easier to lay the dough in and fish it out. I waited roughly 30 seconds - until the dough resembled cooked lasagna noodles and floated to the top of the water.

After removing the dough from the boiling water I lightly blotted it with a kitchen towel and commenced brushing it with melted butter, then layered it with cheese and parsely.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The whole process took 30 minutes, between rolling, boiling and layering. Not too bad.

I baked it off at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the edges were golden brown

look at all those layers married with butter and cheese!

You can enjoy this Berag warm and cold. It's insanely good with a cup of coffee and a good read.

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