Makes: 9 small and 6 large pastries Prep, chill, and rise time: 7 hours total Bake time: 14 to 22 minutes
1 and 1/2 cups cold, unsalted butter cut into 1″ slices
5 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 package, (1/4 ounce), Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 and 1/4 cups half and half
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 and 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
7 ounces almond paste
2 egg whites
3/4 cup almond flour or very finely chopped almonds
1 beaten egg white
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Sliced almonds for sprinkling
3 cups confectioners sugar
8-10 tablespoons half and half
Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Set aside.
For the dough
In a medium sized bowl, place 3 cups of flour. With a pastry cutter, cut in the cold, sliced butter until large pea sized balls form, with larger chunks visible. Place the bowl in the fridge.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the remaining 2 cups flour and packet of yeast.
In a saucepan, heat the half and half, sugar and salt to between 120 and 130 degrees. Add to yeast and flour mixture. Slowly beat in the egg. Beat until combined. Now add the cold flour and butter mixture. The dough will look kind of craggy at this point.
On a well floured surface, turn out the dough and knead a few times. Form into a rough square shape.
Roll the dough into a 21″x12″ inch rectangle.
Starting with the short side, fold dough into thirds, forming a 12″x7″ rectangle.
Give the dough a quarter turn and roll into a 21″x12″ rectangle.
Fold the dough into thirds, starting with the short side.
Repeat, flouring your board and rolling pin as needed. You will end up with the folded 12″x7″ dough.
Place the dough that is now folded into thirds, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge for 4 hours.
Make the filling
In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the softened butter and confectioners sugar until combined. Break off pieces of the almond paste and add to the mixer. Mix until smooth. Add the 2 egg whites, flour and almond flour or finely chopped almonds. Combine until a smooth paste forms. Place in the fridge until you are ready to fill the pastry.
Take the cold dough out of the fridge and flour your work surface. Let the dough stand for about 5 minutes before you attempt to roll it out.
Cut the dough in half widthwise.
Roll each portion into a 12″ square and set one aside.
For the smaller “Bear Claws”, follow these steps:
Cut the first square into 3, 12″x4″ strips.
Spread about 3 heaping tablespoons of the filling down the middle of the each of the strips.
Fold the long edges together over the filling. Press the edges and ends to seal. Cut into three equal pieces. Seal each end of the cut pieces as well, so the filling doesn’t spill out.
With the seam side facing away, cut 4 equally spaced slits about 1/2 inch long. Slightly bow out the pastry. (See photo)
Place 8 bear claws on each lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
For the larger “Bear Paws, follow these steps:
Cut the second square of dough in half.
Fill the dough down the middle lengthwise with 8 heaping tablespoons of filling.
Fold the long edges together over the filling. Press the ends and edges to seal. Cut into three equal pieces.
With the seam side facing away, cut 4 equally spaced slits about 1/2 inch long. Slightly bow out the pastry.
Place 3 pastries per lined baking sheet.
Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour
After all 3 pans of pastries are done rising, follow the next steps :
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, beat an egg white until foamy.
Brush the tops of each pastry with the egg white.
Sprinkle liberally with the Turbindo sugar
Sprinkle with sliced almonds to coat the top.
Bake small pastries for 14 to 15 minutes or until golden brown
Bake large pastries for 22 to 24 minutes or until golden brown
While the pastries are baking, make the glaze:
Whisk the confectioners sugar and half and half until smooth and creamy. You may add more or less half and half until you reach the desired consistency.
Remove the pastries from the baking pans and place on wire racks with wax paper underneath.
Make sure the pastries are cool before you drizzle them with the glaze.
If you have any leftover pastries, wrap each individually in wax paper and foil, then freeze for up to a month.
You can microwave them for about 20 seconds to warm them up nicely before devouring them 🙂