As always, I could not resist snapping pictures of my baked products:
And lastly the gift for my friend tonight:
I cannot post the exact recipe that I got from Pierre Herme's book but in general a milk chocolate ganache is made with equal parts of double cream and chocolate with some butter(typically 1/4 of the weight of the chocolate). You can leave the earl grey in boiled double cream to infuse for a few minutes before adding it to the chocolate to make the earl grey ganache. For jasmine ganache, same rule applies, equal parts of double cream and white chocolate (with perhaps 10g less cream) and enough jasmine essence to your liking. I used jasmine essence instead of jasmine tea leaves as required in the recipe since I could only get hold of jasmine essence. The earl grey ganache was absolutely superb and the jasmine macarons smelled so refreshing, I could smell it when I opened the container, that's not even holding it close to my nose!
At this stage, having tried the italian meringue thrice I can conclude fairly confidently that macarons made using this method do not require drying prior to baking. I did use some very aged egg whites (a week-ish) so that may have had some effect on this so I'll see if the same still holds for fresh egg whites next time.
Just a quick reiteration of the Italian meringue recipe:
Makes approximately 10 macarons (20 shells)
67g ground almond
67g icing sugar
67g caster sugar
50g egg whites.
15g or 1 tbsp of water
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Sift the ground almond with icing sugar. Add in half of the egg whites (25g) and mix well to form a paste.
3. Place 1 tbsp of water in a saucepan with the caster sugar, melt the sugar over medium-high heat, gently swirl the pan occasionally.
4. Meanwhile whisk your egg whites up to soft peaks.
5. As soon as your sugar syrup registers 118C as measured with your candy thermometer, pour the syrup in a thin stream into your meringue while whisking.
6. Once all the syrup has been incorporated continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
7. You can add food colouring (any type but water based) into your meringue and mix your meringue and the almond paste together. Again, this is NOT a dainty process, you need to knock out sufficient air or else you'll get cracks on your macarons.
8. Pipe and bake for approximately 15 minutes, check your macarons after 13 minutes by gently tapping them, they are ready when firm on their feet.
9. Cool and pipe on the filling.
Whether you're a seasoned macaron baker or a first-timer I'd love to hear from you!
A very useful website that I came across when I first started making macarons, written by an Aussie blogger:
The recipes I use were mostly based on his root formula.