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Bear Claw Pastry Dough

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup water, 85 degrees
1 package dry yeast
4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 T sugar
1/2 c unsalted fresh butter
1 T vanilla sugar, optional

Have all ingredients at 70 degrees to start

Dissolve the yeast in the egg-water mixture, let rest 15 minutes
in fridge.

Blend with pastry blender the flour, salt, sugar, butter.

You want this dry mixture to be finer than pie pastry in terms of
lumps, but not super-blended. The butter lumps help form the flakey

Using the pie dough method, gently work the yeast mixture into the
dry mixture. Knead gently for 2-3 minutes, adding as little flour
as possible to keep dough from sticking. form into a ball, and
let it rest in fridge 20 minutes (or more).

Under cool water, knead 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter with your hands
to make it pliable, elastic, and smooth, but not soft. Take it
out of the water, pat dry, and put aside unrefrigerated. Roll the
yeast dough into an oblong 1/2" thick and twice as long as wide,
sort of towel shaped. On 2/3 of the dough, dot 1/4 ofthe butter.
Fold the unbuttered third over the cnter third (sort of like folding
a towel in thirds)Then fold the doubled portion over the remaining
third of buttered dough. If you don't visualize this, practice
with a tea towel first until you think you got it. Roll the dough
into roughly the same size it was when you first buttered it. Each
time you do this, it is called a "turn". At this point you may
want to chill the dough and the butter for a few minutes. What
you do not want is melty squirty butter, you want pliable play
dough like butter. Do this 2 more times - 3 more "turns", chilling
as necessary.

For Bear Claws: after the 4th turn, chill dough again slightly.

Roll it into the dame oblong shape you first rolled it. Trim the
edges using a firm downward cut, not a sawing motion with a very
sharp knife or a razor blade. Then make another cutinthe middle,
the long way, so you have two long pieces. Cut each one of these
in six crossways pieces. You should have 12 pieces. Place 1/12
of the filling not quite in the middle of each piece. Fold over
the longer edge, and sort of pat down the filling, but youdo not
want it coming out of the edge. Do this 12 times, chilling the
pieces as filled if you are going slow and it is a hot day. the
cut each piece on the folded edge 5 times 2/3 up to the folded
edge, then pull apart for the "Claws of the Bear". This is easy
using the thicker filling, but if you want, you can cut from the
cut edge 2/3 up to the folded edge, leaving more of filling to bake
enclosed, and not oozy. It bakes such a lovely golden, puffy brown,
this filling, that I cut it from the fold to expose more filling.
Your choice. Let rise, covered loosely, for about a half hour, or
until doubled in bulk.

Beat 1 egg with 1T water. brush carefully on risen pastry, but
not thickly on cut areas, for the sharp firm cut allows the dough
to rises as high as possible, and a thick egg wash could prohibit
the rise by keeping the "turned" layers together, not letting them
spread. Be careful in your cuts for a high, light, crisp dough.

Bake on a lightly butterd cookie sheet (I let mine rise on the
sheets) at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until browned to
your liking.

You may garnish before baking as I suggested with the *chopped
roasted almonds, or swedish pearl sugar, or AFTER baking with a
light rum glaze, or heated apricot jam (my husband's favorite).
I like the nut garnish, myself.


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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What is the filling??, November 3, 2006 - 10:57 AM
Reviewer: mommaq7 from Corning, AR USA
This sounds great...except you didn't say WHAT to use for the filling!! I have been wanting to make some of these for a long time, but can't find a recipe that is complete to make them.

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