Monday, 22 April 2013

Bear Claws




It's me against 16 warm bear claws - there can only be one survivor.

Bear Claws
adapted from Paul Allam and David McGuinness's Bourke Street Bakery
Makes 16

For the Ferment:
50g baker's flour
25 ml full-cream milk
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh yeast
10 g unsalted butter, softened

For the Dough:
450g baker's flour
300 ml full-cream milk
30g soft brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
15g fresh yeast
250g unsalted butter, for laminating the dough

For the Frangipane:
85g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
140g almond meal
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
50ml milk
a pinch of salt

Icing sugar or dusting

Make the Ferment:
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

Put the ferment in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to ferment. After, store the ferment in the fridge overnight.

Make the Dough:
Put the flour, milk, sugar, ferment, salt and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, 
and mix on low speed for 5 minutes.

Put the dough in a large plastic zip-lock bag or a bowl covered with cling wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Laminate the Dough:
Twenty minutes before you laminate the dough, (i.e. incorporating butter into the dough) remove the butter from the fridge. Pound the butter with rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper into 10cm flat square. If the butter becomes too soft, store it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

Take the dough out of the fridge, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 40cm. Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over the top. Seal the edges of the dough together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Gently and carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 10 x 40cm (approximately 3 times longer than the piece you started with). Mentally divide the rectangle into three equal sections, top, middle and bottom. Fold the top section over the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle, like folding a letter. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degree so that the dough will be rolled in opposite direction from previous fold. Repeat the rolling, folding, and resting process as above two more times. There will be three foldings and rollings (the term is “three turns”) altogether and you need to rotate the dough 90 degree with each "turn".

After the final rolling and folding, store the laminated dough in the fridge for 20 minutes. The dough is now ready for shaping.

Make the Frangipane:
Put the sugar and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the almond meal and Grand Marnier and beat until completely incorporated. Set aside.

Shape the Dough:
Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and roll it out until it is about a 35 x 50 cm rectangle. Cut the dough into 16 small rectangles. Place the rectangles onto trays line with baking paper and pop them into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Remove them from the refrigerator and place 1 tablespoon of frangipane in the centre of each triangle. Fold the rectangle in half lengthways, pressing the edges to seal. Make four 3cm cuts on the wider sealed side to resemble the toes of a bear.

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees C. Cover the bear claws loosely with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until almost doubled in size.

Remove the tea towel, brush the bear claws with egg wash and place in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 190 degrees C and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are a deep golden colour. Cool slightly on trays before dusting with icing sugar.


  1. Oh my goodness. Words fail me, they are gorgeous! I need these stat!

  2. These look absolutely delicious Jen! Pastries are the bomb!

  3. nom nom! congrats, they look delicious!!


  4. Okay I never saw those beautiful pastry before and now, they're going to be my obsession. I wanna make this recipe...oh my god!!!

  5. You never cease to amaze me with your baking skills and talent. Not to mention patience.

  6. You are incredible!!! These look beyond perfect.

  7. You are an absolute amazing cook, photography beautiful again, they look so perfect x

  8. I spotted these beautiful pastries on your flickr, they look absolutely delicious. Pinned.

  9. Thanks Pink Patisserie. "need" - I love it!

  10. Hey Sam. I think I have pastry running through my veins - in a good way.

  11. Thanks Katerina. Nom, nom indeed.

  12. Gabrielle - You had better bookmark these - seriously. They are definitely OMG-worthy.

  13. Thanks Patty. I think that's the first time I have ever been referred to as patient. :)

  14. Thanks Little Kitchie. A Bear Claw for breakfast is a great way to start the day... followed by a 10k run (not so great, but necessary.)

  15. Thanks Shez. You're so kind. I don't think a Bear Claw can ever look bad... except if it's attach to a bear, that is.

  16. Thanks so much Emma. I'm thrilled that you found them pin-worthy. :)

  17. Beautiful! You've inspired me to bake up some bear claws (I've been making traditional croissants lately ... need to keep things interesting, right??). Filling mine with almond cream and raspberry or strawberry jam - haven't quite decided yet. LOVE working with laminated dough!

  18. You're gonna love these Kristen. Let me know how it goes when you make them. I LOVE laminated dough too - that's why I run.