Bear Claws

Preparation info

  • Yield:


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Professional Pastry Chef

By Bo Friberg

Published 1989

  • About

These are by far the most well known and probably the most popular of all the Danish pastry varieties. In Scandinavia, these pastries are called kamm, which translates to “comb” and refers to a cock’s comb (the fleshy red decoration on the head of a rooster), not the type you use on your hair. The method for making the pastries is different in Scandinavia as well. There, the slits are cut with a special knife instead of the rolling cutter used in the United States.



  1. Roll the dough into a rectangle measuring 55 × 12 inches (1 m 37.5 cm × 30 cm) and approximately ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick. Allow the dough to relax for a minute or so, then cut lengthwise into 3 strips, 4 inches (10 cm) long. Leave the strips in place.
  2. Place the Danish filling in a pastry bag with a No. 6 (12-mm) plain tip. Beginning ¼ inch (6 mm) down from the top edge, pipe a ribbon of filling along the complete length of each strip.
  3. Brush egg wash on the entire lower part of each strip below the filling. Fold the top edge down, over, and past the filling, and press the ¼-inch (6-mm) borders into the egg wash, just below the filling, to seal.
  4. Fold up the lower part of the strip past the sealed point to just below the filling so the seam is in approximately the center of the strip; press again to secure (Figure 5-10). Lightly flatten and shape the strips with your palm.
  5. Roll a bear-claw cutter along the unfilled edge to create the claw pattern (Figure 5-11). Be careful not to cut into the filling or it will leak out. Turn the strips over so the seams are underneath. Push the strips together next to each other with a ruler or a dowel.

  6. Brush the strips with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sliced almonds (see Note 2). If you are making only one strip, it is more convenient to do this before cutting the claws, as shown in the illustration.
  7. Cut each strip into 10 pieces, 5½ inches (13.7 cm) long. The pieces will weigh approximately 3 ounces (85 g) each.
  8. One at a time, pick up the bear claws, shake off any almonds that are not stuck to the egg wash, stretch the pastries slightly, and place them on paper-lined sheet pans, bending each strip into a half-circle so that the cuts open up. Let rise until slightly less than doubled in volume.

  9. Bake at 410°F(210°C) for about 15 minutes. Brush the pastries with simple syrup as soon as you remove them from the oven. Let cool completely, then ice lightly with simple icing.