By Ali Tila
October 18, 2017
Recipe courtesy of ACE Culinary
1Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the pastry:
1Whisk the yeast into the water, set aside for ten minutes to activate yeast. In the bowl of a food processor, mix the butter, sugar, powdered milk, salt, cardamom/mace, whole eggs and egg yolk until just blended. Add the bread and cake flours and blend until the dough just comes together. The dough will be sticky. Place the dough in a bowl, covering the top of the dough with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2Between two pieces of plastic wrap, pound the butter with a rolling pin to soften it. Roll it between the plastic until it forms a rectangle about 10 inches long and 9 inches wide. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, dust the top with a small amount of flour and knead it 2-3 times. Roll the dough into a rectangle 15 inches long, 10-11 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Peel the top layer of plastic off the butter rectangle and invert it on top of the dough, covering two thirds of the dough and leaving about ½ border between the butter and the edge of the dough. One third of the dough should not be covered by butter. Fold the dough like a letter: fold the empty third of the dough over the center third. Then fold the buttered bottom third over both layers to form a letter fold. You can pinch the seams on the sides to better encase the butter. Place the dough on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 20 - 30 minutes.
3Note that the more similar consistency your dough and butter are, the better the layering of butter throughout the dough. If the butter/dough get too soft, place it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it’s more easily handled. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Place the dough with the short end parallel to your lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 16x10 inch rectangle. Do not roll the rolling pin over the short ends of the dough as the butter may be rolled out of the ends. Instead, lightly tap the ends with the rolling pin to flatten them out. Be sure the edges are squared off to prevent any gaps when you fold the dough over. Brush any excess flour off your dough before completing every turn. Now for the book turn…. Fold the short ends of the dough into the center of the dough, meeting each other in the middle, and leaving a ¼ inch space between them. Be sure to line up all edges exactly to prevent gaps when the dough is folded together. Now fold the two sides together as if you were closing a book. Voila! You’ve completed a book turn. Repeat this process, wrapping the dough in plastic and refrigerating 20-30 minutes between each turn, until you have completed four book turns total. If the dough/butter is not too soft, you can complete a second turn without refrigerating. When in doubt, do one turn and refrigerate.
Between turns, make your almond filling:
1In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the almond meal/ground almond. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Slowly add the eggs, scraping down the bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until well combined and no lumps remain. Almond cream will hold up to three weeks in the refrigerator. To soften after refrigerated, remix in stand mixer with paddle attachment.
2Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Form the claws:
1Roll the dough into a 16 inch by 12 inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough in half the long way, to make two long strips that are each 6 inches wide. Fill a piping bag with the almond filling. Pipe some almond filling down the center of each strip of dough. Egg wash the edge of one long side of the dough, then fold the dough over the filling, lining up the long edges. You can also roll the dough like a cinnamon roll, then flatten it slightly if you prefer. Cut the folded dough into four inch long segments, then cut one inch slits on the side where the seam is to make the toes. Bend each claw into a crescent shape, brush with egg wash and sprinkle the tops with almonds. Place bear claws on a sheet pan lined with parchment or Silpat and allow them to proof until they are almost doubled in size. Bake for 15-16 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Make the icing:
1In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk or water. Add more liquid for thinner consistency, if desired. Drizzle the icing over the bear claws and enjoy!
2Makes 8-10 medium sized bear claws
Danish Pastry Dough
3 cups + 1 1/2 tbsp bread flour
1 egg, beaten plus 1 tbsp water for egg wash
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups almond meal or ground almonds