Monday, April 27, 2009

BEAR CLAWS

These bear claw pastries are delicious. The dough mixes very easily (no kneading) and the filling for the pastry is equally as easy. The frustrating part is assembly. It is such a sticky dough, that it requires tons of flour on your counter and you have to wash your hands and utensils about every 30 seconds or so to make things work smoothly. Assembly is a little tricky and requires patience; if you can tolerate that annoyance, the final product is worth it. This recipe makes about a dozen nice size pastries, however the dough and filling will keep in the fridge for up to three days, so you do not have to bake them all at once.


PASTRY
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon of dry active yeast
¼ cup warm water
¼ cup white sugar
3 eggs yolks
½ teaspoon salt
(1) small (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
Melt the butter and let it cool down to 110 degrees (should only feel good and warm to the touch, not hot). Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water. Mix these two liquids together and add ¼ cup sugar, egg yolks, salt, evaporated milk, and flour. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge at least 24 hours (or up to three days).


PASTRY FILLING
½ cup butter (room temperature)
1 + 1/3 cups unsifted powdered sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces (1 cup) almond paste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 egg whites
¾ cup finely chopped almonds
Beat softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add 2/3 cup flour and almond paste. Beat with electric mixer until crumbly and evenly mixed; add lemon zest and two egg whites. Beat until smooth. Stir in ¾ cup finely chopped almonds. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm (one to thee days).


ASSEMBLY
Put a nice thick layer of flour on your counter and rolling pin (this dough is STICKY, but you can dust any excess flour off later, with a pastry brush). Roll the dough out to a 20” x 12” rectangle, keeping the edges as straight as possible. Cut the dough (length-wise) into three sections, each about 4” wide.

Flour your counter and hands and roll the almond filling into three 20” “ropes” (the diameter of your thumb). Keep washing your hands because the filling is sticky too! Lay one of the “ropes” in the center of each 20” dough strip and flatten it just a little. Fold the dough over the “rope”, matching the other (cut) edge. Cut each filled 20” strip into 4” pastries (brush excess flour off with a pastry brush) and lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut 3 slits in each pastry like this:

Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this stage, forgive the crude drawing

Flour your knife so it does not stick to the dough and wipe it off often). Use the tip of the knife to separate the “claws” a little. Lightly beat the remaining egg white and brush over the bear claws. top with sliced almonds and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let pastries raise for 45 minutes and then bake in preheated 375° oven for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes about a dozen.


NOTE: I hope I have not scared you away from this recipe. It really is no harder than a simple piecrust, but I felt it only fair to warn you about the sticky dough.
NOTE: I put a simple glaze on some of the pastries and some I left plain. If you have trouble finding sanding sugar (it really adds a special shine and “finish” to baked goods), check Wal-Marts baking isle, near the sprinkles. They sell a Wiltons large grain transparent sprinkle that will work just as well.

26 comments:

Katy ~ said...

Coleen, for a long time I've been wanting to make bear claws (I've only seen them in bakeries!) and I have a recipe I've had for years. But as is typical of me, I was a little overwhelemed by the directions because they seemed so complicated. After seeing your how-tos, I think I am ready to tackle bear claws!

You are totally awesome with all your excellent skills and sharing your knowledge. Thank you so very much!

Oh! And your bear claws look FAB!!!

girlichef said...

I love bear claws...as long as they have lots of almondy filling (and no cinnamon...don't like 'em w/ cinnamon)! I'd never really been sure of how to make them before...thanks for the great instructions (love the drawing, actually). bookmarked :)

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Those look a`M`a`Z`i`N`g!! I'm a dedicated caterer but I'm not dedicated enough to make Bear Claws from scratch, lol.

Vashti said...

Look YUMMY....could you just make me up a batch and send them over???? LOL!
I might try these when I feel brave enough.

Cristine said...

Those look fantastic!!!!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Colleen, your bear claws look like they came from a professional bakery. You did a fantastic job on them. I wish I had a quarter of the patience you have. I'd love one with my morning coffee!!

Netts Nook said...

Wow I have never thought of making a bear claw you make it looks so easy thanks for sharing. Mouthwatering

Barbara Bakes said...

These look so delicious! I've never tried making bear claws at home.

Heidi said...

We love bear claws. Yours looks great. What is almond paste? Do you get it in the baking section?

Debbie said...

Hi Coleen, Your bear claws look great. I have just started baking with yeast and will have to get courage to try these...but I will! Thanks for the drawing...I need all the directions I can get!!!

teresa said...

These look so good! We are huge fans of bear claws and buy way more then we should at the store. I can't wait to try these!

Linda said...

I want to snatch them right off your page and devour them! They look great!

Gloria Chadwick said...

Your Bear Claws are just beautiful! They look better than the ones I've seen in bakeries. :)

Be My Chickadee said...

Please confess...those are from COSTCO, right? LOL

Wanda said...

Coleen...You have to stop posting my husband's favorite things...now I have to make these...honest...Bear Claws use to be a staple in our house 10 years ago...always bought them at "Big Bear" which has since left the area...I'm actually looking forward to making these...they look even better...Thanks!

Kristen said...

mmm - I want to eat at your house, like right now!

Sophie said...

These look so so good. You did a great job with these, they look better than what you'd find in a bakery yummy :)!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Will you adopt me? I absolutely love bear claws, but I can gain weight very easily. I could cry, these look so good. I'm bookmarking this recipe, because my skinny men would devour these in seconds. You made it look do-able. LOVED the drawing. thanks so much. You are a genius!

Mommy Gourmet said...

holly moly those look so very very good. I am with Kathy, I think I might have to make these. These look so good.

Monica H said...

For once, I have a tip for you! You're always helping me out, so I thought I'd share what I learned ove rthe weekend with you...

Spray your work surface with non-stick spray before sprinkling your flour. This will help keep a layer of flour underneath your pastry instead of the pastry "absorbing" it all. It works!

Ingrid said...

Nope I'm not scared off...I'm just going to your house for mine! I'll bring the milk!
~ingrid

Kerstin said...

Oh wow, they look SO good! I'm so impressed - you should open a bake shop! Love your diagram too :)

Bunny said...

They look fantastic!! I've never made them before but oh how I love a challenge!! They look so tender and flakey!!

Judy said...

Colleen, these are my all-time favorite pastry ever. I can't believe you actually made them. I may have to put this recipe in my queue.

Wandering Coyote said...

Oh, these are soooo goood! There was a Jewish bakery near where I lived in Ottawa that made amazing bear claws! I miss them!

Elyse said...

Mmm, I love bear claws!! I've never thought about trying to make my own. I can't wait to try. And yet another fabulous diagram!! Great job.