Bear claw (pastry)

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Bear claw
Bear claw pastry.JPG
Type Pastry, doughnut or fritter
Place of origin United States
Main ingredients Dough, almond paste
Ingredients generally used Raisins
Cookbook: Bear claw  Media: Bear claw

A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry, similar to a Danish, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s.[1][not in citation given] A bear claw is usually filled with almond paste,[2] and sometimes raisins, and often shaped in a semicircle with slices along the curved edge, or rectangular with partial slices along one side.[3] As the dough rises, the sections separate, evoking the shape of a bear's toes.[4]

A bear claw may also be a yeast doughnut in a shape similar to that of the pastry.[4] Such doughnuts may have an apple pie-style filling, or other fillings such as butter pecan, dates, cream cheese, grape or cherry. Bear claw may also refer to an apple fritter.

The name bear claw as used for a pastry is first attested in 1936.[5] The phrase is more common in Western American English,[1] and is included in the U.S. Regional Dialect Survey Results, Question #87, "Do you use the term 'bear claw' for a kind of pastry?"[6]


A bear claw can be made by hand or by machine.[7] A 1948 patent describes the process of assembling the bear claw as rolling out the dough, layering filling onto it, folding the dough over, cutting small incisions to create the claw-like look, and finally cutting the dough into separate pastries.[7] The pastry can be curved into a half-circle at this point, which causes the "toes" to separate.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bear claw". Dictionary of American Regional English. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  2. ^ FrancesC. "Almond Bear Claws". Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Della-Piana, Patricia. J'eat? Playful Cookery. Lulu. p. 356. ISBN 9781300921059. 
  4. ^ a b Pastry, Joe. "The Bear Claw". Joe Pastry. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bear Claw". Retrieved Feb 4, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Dialect Survey Results". Joshua Katz, Department of Statistics, NC State University. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Le, Conie Stiles (Jan 13, 1948), Production of coffee cakes, retrieved 2016-03-24 . US Patent US 2434339 A. Filed 1944-03-22. Granted 1948-01-13.
  8. ^ Mushet, Cindy, Sur La Table (2008-10-21). "Bear Claw". The Art and Soul of Baking. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 9780740773341. 

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