Baking with yeast is not everyone’s forte. My mother, on the other hand, seemed to have it down to a science. Of course, since her wonderful bread and baked goods were the ‘norm’ at our house, we took it all for granted. When my older sister married, she and her husband moved to California, USA. Later on, when their first child was born, my mother made a trip to their home by way of the Greyhound bus. It was an interesting experience for all of us.
For mom, to travel that far, alone to be with her daughter and son-in-law. For dad, the rare occasion of being without mom to share all the work and responsibilities of kids and farm. For me, being the second oldest, meant I needed to step up to the plate and help dad with the three younger siblings, etc. I was in my early teens at the time. Dad and I had an ‘agreement’, I could stay home from school two days a week while mom was away. On one to bake bread and the other to wash clothes for the family. For this help dad would let me make the supper menus of my choice as well as making a corresponding grocery list. Without realizing it, I was once again learning those precious ‘life skills’.
In today’s blog recipes, I wanted to make a couple of pastries which normally have been made with yeast dough. There are numerous people experiencing a ‘yeast’ intolerance these days so I decided to make these ‘coffeecakes’ using baking powder instead. I also found using cream cheese in dough makes it very tender and the leftovers taste great, kept in the fridge, for a few days.
The original ‘Bear Claw’ pastry was similar to a Danish, originating in the United States during the mid 1920’s. A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry usually filled with almond paste and sometimes had raisins. It is shaped in a semi-circle with slices along the curved edge. As the dough rises, the sections separate evoking the shape of a bear’s toes. In this bear claw coffeecake, your filling choices can be endless.
The ‘Poppy Seed’ pastry is shaped to resemble a flower. This is a nice little showy idea that I believe originated with the Pillsbury company years ago. There again, the filling can be your choice. Brion and I really enjoyed both of these pastries probably a little too much!