Friday, December 31, 2010

Vanilla Cream Filled Doughnuts

I’ve decided that a making fancy breakfast pastry is to be reserved strictly for holidays. Not only because of the time required to make the treats, but also because these often tend to be the type of pastry that is best eaten while hot, immediately after they’re made. I’m not saying that Eric and I couldn’t eat a whole batch of pain au chocolat or doughnuts ourselves, but we really shouldn’t.

Therefore, it’s imperative to have loved ones around to not only share the joy but also the caloric intake. The holidays are all about feasting and debauchery (mild forms, anyways) but let’s not get out of hand, right?

In keeping with my new tradition of extravagant holiday breakfasts, I made homemade cream filled doughnuts for my family on Christmas morning. I’m using the term tradition here loosely, only because I couldn’t think of another word, but I’m not yet convinced I’m going to do this every year.

Maybe I’ll implement a Santa-like policy of tallying who’s naughty and who’s nice (to me, at least) and bake accordingly. If, by chance, you happen to spend the holidays with me next year and are served a bowl of yogurt for breakfast, well, you’ll know which list you made.
Vanilla Cream Filled Doughnuts
adapted from Joanne Chang’s recipe in Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

I received a review copy of Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe. Every recipe really does look spectacular but as soon as I turned to the page on vanilla cream filled doughnuts, I knew exactly what I’d be making first. These doughnuts aren’t so difficult to make but they do require some planning ahead to allow time for the dough to rise. I made the dough the night before, cut out the doughnuts, and retarded them in the refrigerator over night. The next morning I sped up the rise a bit by placing them in a warm oven with a steam bath. Still, we wound with doughnuts for brunch rather than breakfast. The wait (and work) was worth it. These doughnuts are a super rich treat- practically bursting with filling, they require a fork to eat them. Lookout Krispy Kreme!

1 package (2 1/2 t) active dry yeast, or 2/3 oz (18 g) fresh cake yeast
2/3 c (160 g) milk, at room temperature
3 ½ cups (490 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 c (270 g) sugar
2 t kosher salt
3 eggs
7 T (7/8 stick/100 g) butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
Canola oil for frying

Vanilla Cream Filling
6 T (90 grams) heavy cream
1 recipe Pastry Cream, chilled

Pastry Cream
1 ¼ c (300 g) milk
½ c (100 g) sugar
¼ c (30 g) cake flour
½ t kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1 t vanilla extract

1. To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast.
2. Add the flour, 1/3 cup (70 grams) of the sugar, salt, and eggs and mix on low for about a minute, or until the dough comes together. While still on low, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further. Begin to add the butter a few pieces at a time and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. The dough should be soft and look cohesive.
3. Remove dough from the bowl, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
4. Lightly flour a baking sheet. On a well floured work surface roll out the dough into a 12-inch square approximately 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2 to 4-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts.
5. Arrange the doughnuts on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in height. The doughnuts should look poufy and feel pillowy.
6. While the dough is rising, make the pastry cream. In a medium sauce pan, scald milk on medium high heat just until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Do not allow the milk to boil.
7. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, and then slowly whisk in the flour mixture. The consistency will be thick and pasty.
8. Take the milk off the heat and slowly, a little at a time, pour it into the egg-flour mixture, while whisking constantly. When all of the milk has been incorporated, pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. As you begin to feel the mixture thicken, stopping whisking every few seconds to see if it has come to a boil. As soon as it boils, whisk for another 10 seconds and then remove from heat. Do not let the cream boil for too long or it will become grainy.
9. Pour the cream through a sieve into a small heat proof bowl and stir in vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and put in the refrigerator to allow the cream to cool, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.
10. Once the dough has risen and you are ready to fry the doughnuts, line a tray or baking sheet with paper towels. Pour about 3 inches of oil into a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat on medium high until hot enough that a pinch of flour, when dropped in the oil, sizzles on contact. I recommend using a candy thermometer - the oil should be about 350 degrees Fahrenheit while frying. You may want to allow the oil to heat to 360 degrees before adding the initial batch of doughnuts (as well as in between batches) as the oil temperature will drop slightly when adding the dough.
11. Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes until brown. Then gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the doughnuts to the prepared tray and allow to cool for a few minutes before handling.
12. Place the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return to the tray to cool completely for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
13. Make the vanilla cream filling while the doughnuts are cooling by whipping the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks and folding it into the pastry cream.
14. When the doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, squirt about 1/3 cup filling into each doughnut. Serve immediately.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Alice Medrich's Toffee Bars

I come by my sweet tooth naturally… or rather, genetically. My parents are the kind of people who never miss dessert after a meal. There are always at least two kinds of cookies in their house as well as one of my mom’s delicious cakes. Cake, as I might have mentioned previously, is Mom’s stock in the baking trade. She can make a cake so good you’ll want to beat your Grandma. (I’m not advocating elderly abuse, it’s just an old family saying to signify that something tastes so good you can’t be held liable for irrational actions.)

As I was preparing to travel home to my parents’ house for the holidays one of the items on my to-do list was to make a batch of cookies to take to the ‘rents. I settled on cookies because I am not the champion cake maker that my mother is. Besides, cake wouldn’t have traveled particularly well.

Luckily, I recently acquired a new cookie cookbook from Alice Medrich when she made a stop at Austin’s Central Market Cooking School to promote Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt in your Mouth Cookies, a compilation of her favorite cookie recipes by texture. I had the great pleasure of volunteering for Alice’s class. I knew from her previous cookbooks that this would not be just simple cookie making as Alice’s recipe instructions are precise, with a capital “P.” And she in no way disappointed.
Typically, the volunteers and cooking school staff prepare the food in advance for the class tasting from the chef’s recipes and then set up a mise en place for the demo ingredients. That way the chef only has to show up and teach. Alice left instructions that we were to prep and mise all ingredients for her but that she would arrive early to mix the doughs and bake the cookies herself. When she arrived, she set to work like a whirlwind and we mostly stayed out of her way.

Thankfully, Alice was just as kind as she is exact and she explained exactly why she asked for everything to be prepared in the manner she requested. I learned a book's worth of information before the class even began.

I’m sure it goes without saying but I’ll do so any way- Alice’s were the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. But then I expected no less!

Toffee Bars
adapted from Alice Medrich's recipe 

I choose these super sweet toffee bars with milk chocolate and pecans from the crunchy section of Alice’s book as I knew they’d fit my parents’ palates to a “T.” I’ve tried to interest them in less sweet, more nuanced desserts to no avail. I once made them brownies that contained almost $20 worth of delicious Valrhona dark chocolate. Mom deemed them too bitter. After that I gave up- there’s no accounting for taste. As I expected, Mom loved these cookies. I liked them as well (of course an Alice recipe would be delicious) but if I were making them for myself, I’d use dark chocolate for the topping and would add some sea salt to the toffee. *Alice recommends using a scale to weigh ingredients for which weight measurements are given. 

12 T unsalted butter
1/3 c (2.33 oz) sugar
1 t vanilla
¼ t salt
2¼ c (10 oz) all-purpose flour
2 c (7 oz) pecan halves

1 T water
¾ c (5.25 oz) packed brown sugar
8 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 chunks
2/3 to 1 c (4-6 oz) milk chocolate, chopped (or use chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack positioned in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of a 9- by 13-inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang.
2. To make the crust, melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and mix just until incorporated to form a loose, crumbly dough.
3. Press the dough evenly into the foil lined pan. Arrange the pecans over the dough and cover the nuts with another piece of foil so that the nuts will toast without burning. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned at the edges.
4. Meanwhile make the toffee topping. Combine water and brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter.
5. When the crust has finished baking, remove the pan from the oven as well as the foil that covers the pecans. Pour toffee topping over the crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the toffee is dark and bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool.
6. Melt the chocolate in a small heat proof bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments being careful not to allow it to burn. Pour the melted chocolate in the pan and spread with a spatula to smooth. Set aside to allow the chocolate to harden. If needed, place in the refrigerator if the chocolate doesn't set up at room temperature. 
7. When the chocolate has set up, using the foil overhang to lift, remove from the bars from the baking pan and transfer to a board for cutting. Cut to make approximately 24 bars.

Monday, December 20, 2010

ATX Foodswappers

I recently attended the first food swap by the newly formed ATX Foodswappers. It was a blast and I left with so much good stuff, I can't wait until the next meet up (just look at that spread above). The swap was organized by Kate, of Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking, and Megan, from Stetted

A food swap is where you trade something you made for another item that someone else made and everyone finds something fun to take home. You can bring as many items to trade as you'd like. Everyone brings snacks or samples of their items to share while the swapping takes place. 

I made out like a bandit and took home baklava from Kristina at Girl Gone Grits, butterscotch sauce from Megan at Stetted, cowboy cookies from Casey at Cooking up English, chai granola from Melanie at Boxing Octopus, Christine's chutney at From Maggie's Farm, Carissa's pickled okra, Tequila Bob's dipping sauce, and Kate S.'s amazing caramels. 

To trade, I brought a medley of my current and past greatest hits:

A rendition on fougasse with mixed olives and herbes de Provence

More toasted coconut marshmallows with chocolate shavings

Coconut macarons with a chocolate ganache

My new favorite granola

Things I'm sorry to have missed:

Addie's candied orange peel

Mary's gorgeous citrus and pecans from her home garden

I can't wait till the next food swap. If you're in Portland, Brooklyn, or Minneapolis, look up your local swap on Kate's site. Or start a swap in your town and join the fun!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fougasse: As Fun to Say as it is to Eat!

Bread making, which many people lump under the general heading of baking, is nothing like making pastry. If you ask me, the two aren’t even comparable (other than the fact that flour is a predominant ingredient in both). Bread making is a whole other craft. Bread makers, as a rule, are a different breed as well.

My first introduction to really well made bread was via Carole Griffen’s Continental Bakery. She crafts her bread in the fashion of the famed Paris bakery, Poilâne. Having tasted Carole’s and Poilâne’s breads, I have to say her bread certainly holds it’s own. Whenever I go back to Birmingham, I never miss stopping by her bakery.

While there have been plenty of breads and bakeries I've pledged my allegiance to, my enduring obsession has been Chad Robertson's bread at Tartine Bakery. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had previously tried making natural leavened bread but wasn’t pleased with the results (and had a little issue with my starter). Now that Chad has released a cookbook on making his amazing bread in your home, Tartine Bread has inspired me to try making bread again. I’ve gotten another starter going and I’ve been doing quite a bit of bread baking. So far, my attempts have been to mixed success – a couple of wins, a not-even-near miss on baguettes- but I guess that’s to be expected.

I tried fougasse for my first attempt to make bread with my starter. Tartine Bread’s fougasse recipe calls for enriched dough, meaning that natural leaven (using starter) is mixed with a poolish made from commercial yeast, flour, and water. I was thrilled with the result but then my standards are pretty low – I decided that as long as the dough rose and the bread had a good crust, I’d be happy. So mission accomplished for my first attempt. I need to work on paying particular attention to folding the dough and the bench rise as I’d like to see more holes (alveoles) in the crumb.
So I’ll keep at it as practice makes perfect. In the meantime, to not waste reject attempts, my freezer will be overflowing with breadcrumbs, croutons, and other repurposed bread products. You may be seeing posts on bread pudding and French toast coming up soon. And if you know of any other uses for sad, sorry looking bread loaves, please send them my way. I'm going to need them!

*I’m not posting recipes on my bread making attempts as they are quite lengthy. Since these breads require a starter, if you’re going to invest the time to develop a starter, you’ll probably want to invest in the book as well.
Placing bread into a steaming oven causes oven spring- let me tell you, I was jumping for joy when I saw my loaf plump up!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows with Toasted Coconut and Chocolate

When I saw a tweet last week from Addie about the availability of handmade marshmallows in local bakeries, it got me craving marshmallows. Apparently, they can be found at a couple of local shops and are a popular item. A freshly made marshmallow is  such a sweet surprise, literally. They taste nothing like the chalky, dry mouth-inducing, less than flavorful variety purchased in a plastic bag from a big box grocery store.

I know those handmade marshmallows from the local bakeries beat the heck out of any marshmallow Kraft ever made but you know what’s even better? Homemade marshmallows. As in made by you, in your home. I suspect you can probably buy the ingredients to make a whole batch of homemade marshmallows for the cost of just a few handmade bakery marshmallows. 

If more people knew just how easy it is to make marshmallows, there would be a lot more homemade marshmallows in the world. And that’s just a good thing. 

So I'm here to spread the word to marshmallow lovers everywhere. Tell Kraft to suck it and make your own. Get crackin'!

Homemade Marshmallows with Toasted Coconut and Chocolate
adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

I had tried another homemade marshmallow recipe previously and the results were disgusting. Worse than anything Kraft could ever make- they tasted like a big clump of slightly sweetened gelatin. I mentioned this to Jan and she told me I had to try Ina’s recipe and that I’d love them. She was right, of course. (Jan is always right about these things.) Ina’s original recipe calls for toasted coconut on the top and bottom of the marshmallows. Just sprinkle some toasted coconut in the bottom of the pan before adding the marshmallow mixture if you prefer both side coated. I opted for just the top but added a little chocolate drizzle.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Chocolate, for drizzling

1. Line the sides and bottom of an 8 x 12 inch pan with two pieces of overlapping parchment paper cut to fit. Allow extra length on the paper ends so that it hangs over the sides of the pan. This will make removing the dried marshmallow much easier. Butter the parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while making the syrup.
3. Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Add the vanilla. Whip on high speed until the mixture is very thick, approximately 15 minutes.
5. Pour the marshmallow batter into the pan and smooth the top with water dampened hands. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.
6. When dry, lift the marshmallow from the pan using the overhanging strips of parchment paper. Peel off the parchment and place the marshmallow on a cutting board and cut into squares with a buttered knife. You may need to stop and rinse your knife in warm water as you cut if the marshmallow begins to stick to the knife. Re-butter the knife before cutting again.
7. Roll the sides of each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar. Place on wax paper and drizzle melted chocolate over the tops. Store uncovered at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Change is Good: Yogurt with Olive Oil Granola, Candied Ginger, and Pomegranate Seeds

Change is good, right? I usually whole heartedly subscribe to this mantra, except on some occasions… such as breakfast.

I’ve eaten the same meal for breakfast for years now. Monday through Friday, I eat the same high fiber cereal with fresh or dried fruit, depending on the season. On Saturday and Sunday, I indulge in a bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruit. Real adventurous, huh?

While I would quickly tire of such monotony and repetition at any other meal, for some reason, the constancy of the same breakfast day in and day out is a comfort to me. I’m sure the fact that I’m not a morning person and am essentially on auto-pilot until around 10 a.m. aids and abets my reliance on routine. I just don’t have the brain fuel to mix it up in the mornings. So let me tell you, changing granola recipes is a big deal for me.

It occurred to me earlier this year that there might be another granola recipe out there that I might like and that perhaps I should put away the old recipe that I’ve been making for far too long now. (I’ve committed the recipe to memory so the reference to “putting it away” is really just a figure of speech.) So I started searching for a new recipe without much success.

Thinking I might opt for a healthier version, I tried a low sugar granola recipe that seems to be wildly popular (and is from a favorite bakery of mine) but it tasted like bird seed to me. I couldn’t choke it down, no matter how much I doused it in honey (which kind of defeated the whole low-sugar thing). I then tried tweaking my heretofore favorite granola recipe to see if I could breathe some new life into it. I just didn’t like any of the new combinations I tried as much as I liked the original recipe. After that, I pretty much gave up and resigned myself, admittedly somewhat happily, to eating my old tried and true granola.

But then…

When reading through In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, I came upon Melissa’s recipe for granola. I barely skimmed it and was about to turn the page when I saw it contained coconut. That piqued my interest. I went back and read the story that introduces the recipe wherein she describes the granola as sweet and salty and explains that the recipe uses olive oil instead of a neutral tasting oil. That got me even more interested. Her recipe definitely seemed worthy of a taste test.

A few weeks later, when I saw my granola supply was dwindling, I went to the store and picked up provisions to make Melissa’s recipe. As soon as I returned from the store I got to work. After mixing up the ingredients and waiting for the granola to bake, I couldn’t stand it any longer and took a taste as soon as I pulled it from the oven. Of course, I burned my tongue. But it was so worth it.

This is officially my new favorite granola! (For the next three years or so until I’m so sick of it I’m tempted to change again.)
Yogurt with Olive Oil Granola, Candied Ginger, and Pomegranate Seeds
adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

I used Melissa’s recipe as a base but tweaked it a bit. Her recipe calls for pumpkin seeds, which I like fine otherwise but not for breakfast so I omitted them. She specified maple syrup but to me, maple syrup is for pancakes, not granola, so I used honey. Also, I really like coconut so I increased the quantity and cut back a little on the pistachios. Melissa’s recipe called for ½ teaspoon of ginger but I upped the ante and used candied ginger instead. And thanks to Lee for her post on pomegranate seeds – I love pomegranate but had never thought to eat the seeds with yogurt and granola. It’s divine!
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c raw pistachios, hulled
1 ½ c coconut chips
2/3 c honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup candied ginger, roughly chopped
Plain yogurt, preferably with the cream on top
Pomegranate seeds

1. Preheat oven to 300℉. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, coconut chips, honey, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture on a parchment or silpat lined, rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Allow to cool and break into pieces.
2. Transfer the granola to a large bowl and add the candied ginger. Toss to combine. Serve with yogurt and pomegranate seeds.

Yield: About 9 cups.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

(non)Turkey Day Recap: Chocolate Caramel Tart

I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I constantly waffle back and forth between bah humbug thoughts and holiday cheer. While I do enjoy the holidays to an extent, the seemingly unending extravaganza of Thanksgiving rolling into Christmas and marching on to New Year’s Eve/Day just wears me out. At a certain point, I’m ready for the whole thing to be done.

Despite my ambivalence, I really enjoy Thanksgiving. Probably because it comes at the beginning of the onslaught before the mania really sets in. I love the symbolism of the day- giving thanks and sharing a meal- but I don’t particularly like the menu. I’ve had every version of turkey- from fried to Turducken- and I’ve yet to have been bowled over by any of them. Turkey is just a dry-ass, flavorless bird, if you ask me, and I don’t have any desire to uphold a tradition just because of precedent.

I do, however, respect traditions that I enjoy- I’d be all up in arms if my mother served anything other than Shrimp Creole and crusty French bread on Christmas Eve. I suppose some people feel that strongly about turkey. Personally, I have an issue with serving food just because it’s expected. Fortunately, my husband shares this sentiment and since we were hosting (non)Turkey Day at our home this year, we ditched the bird.

When we host a meal, the division of labor is based on skill sets. Therefore, Eric made the savory dishes and I was in charge of bread and dessert. He decided on lamb chops with a sugo of lamb shoulder as the main course. We did uphold the Gulf Coast Thanksgiving tradition of serving oysters but instead of an oyster dressing or gumbo, Eric made baked oysters with a topping of beet greens, herbs, and breadcrumbs as a starter. The rest of the beet went into a delicious salad. Earlier, before the dinner menu was even set, I had decided to make a chocolate caramel tart. Fortunately, this super sumptuous tart was just the thing to pair with the rich lamb dish.

Turns out, everyone was turkeyed out from prior celebrations so the non-traditional meal went over well.  Yay! I think our new tradition will be to continue to flout tradition- at least the ones we don't like. (Don't get any ideas, Mom. I'm expecting Shrimp Creole on December 24th. No Exceptions!)
Chocolate Caramel Tart
adapted from a recipe from Marlow & Sons, published in Saveur

When I saw this recipe, I made a mental note but neglected to tear it out and set it aside. Later I couldn’t remember where I had seen it. After a week of Googling and searching websites, I finally found it at Saveur’s site. Despite the aggravation, it was worth the effort to dig up the recipe. The original recipe as published is here. I made a substitution on the caramel filling and used David Lebovitz’s rich caramel sauce recipe from Ready for Dessert because I like a darker, full-bodied caramel flavor. Also, next time I think I’ll use Dorie’s chocolate shortbread tart dough recipe for the crust. Dorie’s had a more pronounced chocolate flavor and I think it would stand up better to the caramel.

1 1⁄2 cups flour
1⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
2 egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c (8 oz) salted or unsalted butter
2 c sugar
2 c heavy cream
1⁄2 t vanilla extract
1⁄2 t salt

1⁄2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Gray sea salt for garnish

To make the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Butter a 9" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then mix in yolks and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix in.
3. Transfer dough to the buttered tart pan and press evenly into bottom and sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done.
4. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool.

To make the caramel:
1. In a large saucepan with heavy bottom, melt butter over medium heat and then add sugar. Cook and stir occasionally until the mixture is a deep amber hue and looks and smells like it is just short of burned. It should foam a bit at this point.
2. Remove pan from heat and and carefully add in the cream (stand back as it may splatter). Stir until smooth, then add the vanilla and salt and stir to smooth again. When the mixture has cooled enough to taste, check the flavor and add more salt, if needed.
3. Pour the caramel sauce into the tart shell and place the filled tart in the refrigerator to allow the caramel to set up for a few hours before topping with ganache.

To make the ganache:
1. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth.
2. Pour ganache evenly over the tart. Allow to cool slightly and then sprinkle with sea salt.