Bear claw (pastry)

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Bear claw
Bear claw pastry.JPG
TypePastry, doughnut or fritter
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsDough, almond paste
Ingredients generally usedRaisins

A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry, similar to a Danish, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s.[1]‹See TfM›[failed verification] 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, hence the name.[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.

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. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. 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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