Legends of the Fall"
Spirit of the Bear Claw
This dish isn't easy, but if it is your destiny to walk through uncharted lands, wrestling with nature (and cooking unique breakfast pastries), strap on your apron and dig in.
You will need:
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 sticks frozen butter
Filling and glaze:
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 cup chopped prunes
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon chopped lemon zest
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 1 box, Bear Band-Aids
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and a large pinch of the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk in the sugar, salt, cardamom, egg yolks, vanilla, and milk. Use a wooden spoon to beat in 2 cups of the flour until smooth and elastic, then mix in another cup of flour and beat until combined. Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured surface and knead about 2 minutes, gradually adding the remaining flour, plus more as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cover and refrigerate 45 minutes.
2. Working quickly on a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 12" x 18" rectangle. Using a cheese grater, grate a thin, even layer of butter over the dough's surface. Dust lightly with flour and fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Roll out into a 12" x 18" rectangle again and repeat the grating and folding. Cover and refrigerate 20-30 minutes; then repeat butter grating and folding two more times. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
3. While the dough chills, combine prunes, maple syrup, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the sliced almonds in a food processor and pulse to a thick paste. Preheat oven to 400°F.
4. Divide dough in half. On a well-floured surface, roll one piece out into a 9" x 18" rectangle. Place half of the filling in a 3-inch strip lengthwise down the center of the dough. Seal the filling in by overlapping the top and bottom thirds over the filling and then flip the dough over to place the seam at the bottom. Cut into six 3-inch pieces and make four 1/2-inch slits evenly down one side. Bend slightly to open the claws, brush with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with sliced almonds and sugar. Let rise in a warm spot, uncovered, until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 15 minutes.
5. After dinner, have the manliest of your guests wrestle with the dishes armed with only a soapy mitt and a long blonde wig.
Makes 1 dozen claws