Call me crazy, but when somebody offers me a pastry called a “bear claw”, I actually expect to see something that looks, at least a little, like a bear’s claw. Hence my years of confusion going into doughnut shops and encountering amorphous blobs of fried dough that bore the name. I swear to you I was in my twenties before I ever realized that a bear claw could be, in fact, representational. Here’s how they’re classically made — out of pastry and not doughnut dough.
First you’ll need to prepare a filling that’s made from:
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped fine in a food processor
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
dash of almond extract
Combine all and mix until uniform.
For the Danishes, start once again with about a pound and a half of Danish dough, rolled into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Exact dimensions are — what? That’s right, not important.
Roll a small log of filling between your palms and place near the edge of one of your dough squares.
Now then, dip your finger in water and moisten the top edge of the square.
Then fold the dough over the filling, leaving a lip on the bottom.
With a sharp knife, make several small cuts in the lip…
…and bend the whole thing to spread them out into “toe”-like shapes. This bear has six toes, I know that. But it’s my bear, and it can have six toes if I want it to, alright?
Proof and paint with egg wash as with classic sweet rolls, then sprinkle the tops with slivered almonds (put on little fingernail “claws” if you feel like being cute). Bake.