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Stalking the wild bear claw

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Stalking the wild bear claw

OK, I have my laminated Danish pastry dough.  I'm good to go.  But I'm wondering what to stuff my bear claws with.  Nothing fancy, I'm a man of the people.  I have almond meal and sliced almonds.  I have maple syrup and almond extract.  Does anyone want to share the bear claw filling of my dreams?  Any tips whatsoever gratefully accepted.  The dough will be ready to play with starting tomorrow morning.  I'm hoping to create what is to my mind the classic bear claw of my youth, but I have no idea what the filling consisted of or even, really, whether this pastry dough will be the right stuff.  But I'm excited and optimistic.  Anybody feel like hopping on the bear claw wagon and throwing some thoughts my way, I'm all ears.  Thanks.


:-Paul

G-man's picture
G-man

Well, in my opinion, the superior bear claw is made with a paste-like filling consisting of almonds, honey, vanilla, and a bit of cinnamon, then given the slightest brush with a glaze (white sugar frosting will do if you have no other options, but clear is best) so that you can sprinkle sliced almonds on top and have them stick.


 


Edit: Sorry I have no exact amounts, I would very probably recommend a baklava-like recipe, something like 1/2 pound almond flour, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon.


Were I to embark on this venture I would honestly mix the almond flour with honey until I got a paste, then add a mix of vanilla and cinnamon until perfect.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks, G-man.  I'm also thinking of sprinkling a few bits of sliced almond in with the paste for some more crunch...


:-Paul

Franko's picture
Franko

Here's a couple from my old baking school text . They're pretty 'old school'  but possibly what you had in mind.


#1- Date Filling-note* this is the filling that's called for in the text for using in bear claws


Cook equal weights of dry dates and water slowly in a heavy bottom pan till thick and smooth then cool completely. Pipe a 1cm line down the center of your dough, egg wash the bottom end and fold the upper part over the filling.


#2 Almond Filling- note* you will have to scale this down from industrial size


Almond paste-450 grams


Granulated sugar-450 grams


Shortening-450 grams


Water-225 ml


Cake flour-170 grams


Whole eggs-170 grams


Mix almond paste and sugar till smooth


Add shortening, flour and eggs and mix for 3 min. on 2nd speed


Add water and mix till smooth


Really though I think you're on the right track with the ingredients you have on hand, but if you have some cake crumbs or can get some plain sponge cake to crumb, this will bind whatever filling you make and prevent it from running while it bakes.


Scale the crumbs as 100% of your overall filling mix, sugar @ 65%,  nuts @ 33%,  water @33%,  eggs @ 12%, and spices @ .7% .


 


 Franko


 


 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks a lot Franko.  I'm going to end up with a synthesis of some sort.  This is great info to help me figure out what I'm up to.


:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I once made sourdough danish pastry bear claws,   I think it was in 2008 just about this time of year.  I wanted an easy recipe for the filling.  I made my own almond paste, using just ground almond meal, egg whites, confectioners sugar and almond extract, what I had on hand at the time.  I topped the bear claws with a little glaze.  They were actually pretty tasty and the filling is what makes them even better.


If I were to make them today..I would not do the sourdough version of the pastry.  I would use the recipe from Saus ABAP for almond paste with a little added crumbled cake added in for sure,  I would want it taste like that yummy filling in the almond croissants, with amaretto liqueur added for a little extra yumm.  I would not make my own ground almonds but use the finely ground Almond Meal/Flour from Bob's Red Mill.  The Bear Claws are lovely finish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or if you have a really sweet tooth a glaze.


Can't wait to see your yummy Bear Claws, Pablo, whatever way you choose to make them, they will be devine!


Sylvia

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Sylvia,


Do you mean the Almond Cream in AB&P?  I was wondering if the stuff would cook or if you piped it in after the pastry was cooked...  Or is there somewhere in the book where an Almond Paste is referenced? 


I'm pretty excited by the whole project.  When I make the Danish dough recipe I divide it into 1/4s so I have 4 tries at it.  Tomorrow will be the first.  I do have some cake crumbs laying about for just this type of experiment.


:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Yes, I meant almond cream and instead of using bread crumbs I would try some cake crumbs instead.  A french bakery here uses the cake crumbs in there almond croissants and it's devine.  It would keep it tasty and firm it up so it does not run when baking.  You want it moist and yummy.  The almond paste in mine ran some but just enough to look nice between the toes.  I think you will be very happy with your cake crumbs mixed in the almond cream.


Sylvia

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I spooned it onto the center before folding and baking.


Sylvia

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde


The almond paste in mine ran some but just enough to look nice between the toes.



;-0

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I never realized....LOL!  I'm gonna have ta quit usein words like buns n toes ;)

Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer


2 #s almond paste 


8 oz butter 


12 oz sugar 


3 Tablespoons vanilla 


grated zest of 1 lemon 


6 eggs 


4 oz flour 


12 oz cake crumbs 


1# 4 oz dried dates, chopped fine 


8 oz toasted almonds, ground fine 


 


In a large mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the almond paste, butter and sugar 


together until well mixed.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest, eggs, flour, and cake crumbs, and 


mix to incorporate evenly.  Combine the dates and ground almonds and mix into the rest 


of the mixture until thoroughly combined. 


Store the filling in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 


months. 








That's the complex one but my favorite:
"cream" almond paste with 1/4 of its weight of cake crumbs, the same weight of sugar and a splash of amaretto. You should have a semi-light, crumbly mixture. Then mix with enough soft peak egg whites to make pipeable.




lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Apple pie filling


Cream cheese and apricot

doublelift08's picture
doublelift08

In THe Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg there are a couple of Danish Fillings but the one im gonna try this weekend is basically almond paste mixed with butter then pastry cream added to adjust the consistency and make it pipeable/spreadable.


Pastry cream is an awesome danish filling on its own and easy as heck to make. it has 1001 uses too. I forget my exact recipe at this moment but if anyone would like I can post it later.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I ended up doing 1/2 a recipe of the Almond Cream from AB&P, substituting cake crumbs for bread flour and adding a bit of vanilla, almond extract and maple syrup and deleting the rum.  They seem pretty packed with filling.  I imagine I'll get lots running out.  I filled them as 2 large rectangles and then cut each of them to size (4 bear claws to each large rectangle), prefilled.  I think I should have made squares and filled them, leaving enough room around the edges to seal.  Oh well, I'll try that next time after I evaluate these... about 3 hours from now.  Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.


:-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo


Bare claws - I couldn't resist the pun.  I use Dan DiMuzio's pastry dough from Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective.  It's the only Danish dough I've made and I've been really happy with it.  Dan says to keep the proofing below 80 degrees so the butter doesn't melt out of the dough.  I proofed these for 2 hours at 76 degrees.  Next time I'll try proofing for 3 hours.  The dough was starting to move, but it could have been much poofier.  



Egg washed and almonded, ready for the oven.  I added a bit of sugar to an egg and whirred it good with an imersion blender.  I did a pre wash and a post wash so the almonds would stick well, that is, I brushed the claws both before and after I added the almond slices.



Fresh from the oven.  I think I over-baked by a minute or so.



Crumb shot.  Rave reviews from family and neighbours.  They are delicious.  I hope to get them to puff up a bit more next time.


For the filling I ended up modifying AB&P Almond Cream a little.  Next time I'm going to cut the butter in half and go back to flour instead of cake crumbs.  I didn't have any trouble with the filling running out of the claws where they weren't sealed.  It was dense enough that it just stayed where it was put, pretty much.


Anyway, a big hit and I'm full of enthusiasm for the next load.  Luckily the pastry dough freezes so we can rest our waistlines a little between batches!  Thanks again to everyone for tips, suggestions and encouragement.


:-Paul

Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

I didn't know bears had so many toes! Just yankin' your paw, they look wonderful!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

If you want to make a version that keeps all of the filling locked inside, cut the individual pastries, center a scoop of the filling on the front (bottom) half, fold the top section over the bottom section, press down on the three cut edges to seal (a little egg wash works for "glue"), then cut the toes.  Kinda sorta like a hamburger (the filling) in a clamshell container (the pastry).  A bit more work than doing an entire line of pastries with a log of filling, but none of it has a chance to get away, or scorch, during baking.


I'd happily eat any of those that you pictured.


Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Paul,


I plan to try the separate method next time.  My filiing was tough enough that it didn't dribble out or anything, it baked up into a spongy consistency.  I'm not a production bakery or anything so I can take the time to individually seal each bear claw.  I'm hoping that a bit longer proofing will give them a bit more rise.  With my lemon Danish I let the squares of pastry dough proof before I fill them.  I suppose I could try that with the bear claws as well, as long as I was piping the filling instead of scooping and shoving it around - that would tend to flatten the proofed pastry.  So may variables!  Technique is certainly a big part of baking.


:-Paul

EvaB's picture
EvaB

these don't look anything like what I ate as bear claws, and they were made by a German gentleman who ran the bakery in my town. Those were simple dough coils with a slight almond flavour (like a bit of almond extract had been added to the dough) and a drizzle white confectioners sugar glaze, covered with toasted almond slices. And that was the actual recipe I got from a friend who took a baker's class, at the local college.


So will have to take notes of how these were done, and filled etc, and try them out.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your treking right along on some delicious bear claws!  If you would like to see a picture example of the technique, Paul is discribing, you can see it at http://www.JoePastry just type bear claw in search..


Trick question...How many toes does a bear have...?  Looks like we both started with 10 ;)  Joe Pastry cuts 6, baked has 5!  ADDED: how many on '1' paw?


Sylvia 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

black bears and grizzlies have 5 just like people, can't say for darn sure, but DH has two bear claw necklaces (not real but hand carved) and there are 10 claws on each necklace and that is from two paws each necklace.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I suppose we're really making bear paws rather than just claws.  I'm claiming an artistic license to put as many claws on a paw as I like.  Maybe these are mutant bears living too near a nuclear power plant or something.  Atomic Mutant Bear Paws from the Year 5000.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Sylvia,


Great site.  I didn't find a search function and using the edit/find in my browser didn't return any hits on "bear".  Am I doing something wrong?


:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

http://www.joepastry.com search box,  you have to keep scrolling down and look on the right..it's a little hard to find because it's down a bit on the page.  I just added in the .com maybe that works better to get to joe pastry. 


Sylvia 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Sylvia.  The bear claws of my youth were sealed in individual plastic bags from the neighbourhood convenience store, that places me, eh?  It's instructive to do a google search for "bear claw pastry" and see the results under images.  Quite a wide variety.  I'm now officially inspired for my next batch.  Stay tuned!


:-Paul

EvaB's picture
EvaB

you can put as many claws, toes or whatevers on them to suit you. I was just answering the question of how many on a real bear.


I've seen something that was baked on a jelly roll pan with almonds on top, filled, and sliced into slices which to me was almond slice, called bear claws, so who knows just what a bear claw is.