After many years of baking the basics, I've finally mustered up the courage to make a pastry. This is a very late Mother's Day post, but I can't pass up this opportunity to share my experience. Before moving to Shanghai, mom's favorite pastry from any place was always the Bear Claw. A few weeks before Mother's day, I thought about what I'd make and this is what came up.
Since I won't be in close proximity to my family next mother's day, I stepped it up a notch. Bear Claw Pastry is the perfect thing to make if you'd rather spend the time instead of money to show how much you love someone (mushy gushy).
Or you could just treat yourself to a nice pastry. They smell and taste heavenly.
I've been wanting to post this since the day I made it, but with school I've been extremely busy...but now it's over! Happy graduation!
Yesterday was our last day of school. With the Baccalaureate Service and then graduation rehearsal, it finally hit me that I wouldn't be going back to this school after summer. After four years here, my school has sort of become my second home (as much as I hate to admit it). I'll really miss the community and the relationships I've established. While I'm beyond excited to start the new chapter of my life, I don't think I've been this anxious for anything.
Anyways... I digress.
If you're looking for more of a challenge, make your own pastry puff. Seeing the results of the flaky dough is more satisfying than I imagined. Despite my worries that this would turn into the biggest failure of Mother's day, it turned out to be a huge success! Before Tuesday even came around, 6/6 pastries were gone. Lucky for my mom, I had frozen the other six.
In fact, I encourage that you double the batch and freeze them for whenever you'd like to enjoy a delectable breakfast with a nice cup of dark roast coffee (or tea!).
Bear Claws: makes 12
Recipe: adapted from here
2 Tbsp & 2 tsp almond paste
2/3 cups ground almonds
2/3 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/8 cup white sugar
1/2 pinch salt (1 smidgen)
1 Tbsp butter
1 egg white
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp amaretto liqueur
1 1/2 pounds puff pastry (ingredients from here and directions from here)
1 1/2 tsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp sliced almonds for garnish
1 1/2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Beat almond paste with an electric mixer to break it apart. Add the almonds, walnuts, sugar, and salt; continue mixing until the almond paste is no longer lumpy. Stir in the butter, egg white, almond & vanilla extract, and amaretto liqueur on high speed until it's as fluffy as possible. We'll finish working with this in a bit.
- Split the dough in half and place half in the refrigerator. Roll half of the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle that is about 8 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Trim the edges and cut the dough in half lengthwise to make two 4 inch wide strips. On each 4 inch wide strip, divide the dough into three sections, totaling to six rectangle pieces. Place these in the refrigerator, and take out the other half of the dough. Repeat step 2. In the end, there should be 12 smaller rectangles.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk the egg and water together. Spoon a scant Tbsp of filling in the center of each strip. Brush the egg mixture onto the edges of each strip. Fold each strip over the filling and press gently to seal. Use a knife to cut "claws".
- Brush the egg mixture on top of each claw. Sprinkle almonds over the top. Refrigerate and repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Bake in the preheated oven until almonds are toasted and the pastry is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Cool and dust with confectioners' sugar right before serving.
- After step 4, you have the option of freezing the pastries. I individually wrapped each Bear Claw. When I baked the frozen half, I just preheated the oven, brushed the top with egg and water, and then sprinkled almonds over the top. The time should be around the same, just watch for the color changes
- Baking the Bear Claws, or any pastry, is best baked when the dough is cold.
- Keep in mind when making pastry dough, that the more you fold and roll your dough, the more layers and more flaky the dough will be.