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Hollandaise Sauce

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hollandaise sauce

(Originally published, Dec-2016, then updated by Tania, Dec-2018)

 

Hollandaise sauce is my nemesis, I have a love, hate relationship with it. I LOVE eating it, it’s one of my most favourite things to eat in the whole wide world. I mean it’s rich, creamy and buttery…..yes, very buttery, hence why I HATE it too! I can blame a whole jean size on it! For someone with very little, bordering on non-existent, self-control, having a bowl of hollandaise sitting next to me at work in the mornings luring me in with its buttery, lemony scent, is just too much to take. Especially when you’re not a morning person who rushes out the door at the last minute skipping breakfast. Me, an hour after arriving at work: “Wow, I’m hungry, should’ve had breakfast. Hmmm let’s see shall I grab a nutritious banana or slather some of that hollandaise on a piece of buttery, grilled, crusty, ciabatta made by the best baker in town?”

Hollandaise is the ‘mother’ of all French sauces. I found this recipe in an old classic French cookbook (which I stupidly threw away and kick myself everytime I think about it, kicking myself now), luckily, I know it off by heart.
It’s made from a sabayon base of egg yolks, white wine vinegar and water. Then the addition of melted butter turns it into a rich and decadent sauce flavoured with lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
It’s gorgeous poured over steak, fish, vegetables or perfectly poached eggs on the breakfast of all breakfasts, Eggs Benedict (I also like to pour it over corn fritters).

Now I’m not going to lie to you if you haven’t made it before it can be a challenge, something to master. I’m no master Chef but I have made it a lot so can whip it up now with my eyes closed.
It’s essential to follow the recipe to the letter or all will be lost! You must cook the sabayon just right so the sauce has a nice consistency and will hold up well and you must whisk your little heart out when adding the butter or it will separate!!!
If you haven’t made it before I know you can do it and I’ll do my best to guide you through it and warn you of any potential dangers, but it’s really is worth the effort, be brave and you will be rewarded with utter decadent deliciousness. 🙂 I’ve seen chefs cry out in disbelief because they split a sauce they’ve been making every day for years so if it doesn’t work the first time take that whisk back in hand and try again.

Once you know how to make it yourself, you will never want to buy hollandaise ever again! Really, it’s SO GOOD!

 

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons lemon juice (from ½ juicy, medium-sized lemon)
225 g butter
4 large eggs (I use size 7’s & you’ll only need the yolks)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper

 

Makes 2 cups (Depending on how much you like to put on, it’s approx enough for 8 eggs benedicts)

 

Notes (aka, me being super bossy)

  • Please don’t substitute the vinegar for another kind as it will change the taste.
  • Best to make sure you use the right size eggs and the other measurements are exact, a little off will cause technical problems or affect the taste.
  • When you go to use it, the butter must be warm, not hot. I’ve placed the melting of it in the method at a point where it should have cooled down enough by the time you need to use it.

 

STEP BY STEP

(Already know how to make hollandaise? Scroll down for the ‘quickie’ version)

 

First, squeeze the lemon to get the 2 tablespoons of juice you will need for later and leave it aside.

Next, find a medium-sized heatproof bowl and a saucepan that the bowl sits snuggly into.

One third fill the saucepan with water and then set the bowl back on top.

Now remove the bowl and check that the underside isn’t wet. If it is, remove a little bit of water until the bowl is sitting above the water in the saucepan and not in it. Then leave the water in the pan for a minute and place the bowl on the bench.

  • I’m being pedantic I know, but this is important as when the water is boiling if the underside of the bowl is touching it, the contents of the bowl will get too hot and will curdle.

Into the bowl add the yolks, vinegar, as well as 3 tablespoons of cold water and whisk it all together. Leave aside.

hollandaise sauce

Now place the butter in a small saucepan and over a low heat, leave it to melt. Once done, turn off the heat and leave it to cool down a little while you make the sabayon.

Next, back to the water in the saucepan. Over a high heat, bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium/low or low, or to where the water is barely simmering (a very soft boil).

  • If the water is too hot it will cause the egg mixture to scramble and it will be ruined. I’ve done it many a time!

Place the bowl back on top of the simmering water and slowly whisk it until the sabayon has thickened and tripled in size, also making sure you whisk up around the sides so it doesn’t stick there. It should look like softly whipped cream (just as a rough guide mine took 4 minutes).

  • If you’ve made it a few times you know if you keep a keen eye on it you don’t have to continuously whisk it, but if it’s new to you, best to just stay put and slowly but continuously whisk it.
  • So, again, you are aiming for the consistency of softly whipped cream. If you don’t cook it long enough the yolks won’t be cooked through and you may end up with a runny hollandaise. On the flip side if you cook it too much it will scramble like eggs and you will have to abort the mission and start over.

hollandaise sauce

So, when it’s nice ‘n’ thick ‘n’ creamy, turn off the heat. Remove the bowl from over the pan and place it onto a damp, folded over tea towel (this is to stop the bowl moving around when you are whisking in the butter).

While vigorously whisking, slowly pour in the butter (which still should be warm), a constant thin stream. Just keep slowly pouring it in and whisking until all the butter has been added. (I hope you’ve been going to the gym otherwise you’ll be surprised at how weak your arms are, lol.)

  • If you add the butter too fast it won’t emulsify and will split. If you add the butter too slow…..well…..nothing will happen really, but as my Nana would say, “Christmas is coming”! Just a nice, slow and steady stream will suffice!

hollandaise sauce

Well if everything went to plan it will look like yellow satin, be nice and smooth and as I mentioned early, it should be thick ‘n’ creamy.

Next, still using the whisk gently fold through the lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.

  • Easy does it with the cayenne, it’s hot!

hollandaise sauce

Cover the bowl with aluminium foil and leave on top of, or right by the stove (but not directly by a heat source) until I needed.

Proudly pour it over your golden, free range, runny eggs and I’m sure everyone will appreciate your excellent hollandaise making skills. 🙂

If you like, chop up and sprinkle chives over the top and/or sprinkle over a very small amount of cayenne. 

hollandaise sauce

Storing hollandaise – Not a good idea, it doesn’t keep. It will inevitably split even if you try to reheat it gently. Best to just eat it all up on the day!

 

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise is a French sauce which can be poured over steak, fish, vegetables or perfectly poached eggs on the breakfast of all breakfasts, Eggs Benedict
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice from ½ juicy, medium-sized lemon
  • 225 g butter
  • 4 large eggs I use size 7's & you'll only need the yolks
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Squeeze the lemon to get the 2 tablespoons of juice you will need for later. Leave it aside.
  • Find a medium-sized heatproof bowl and a saucepan that the bowl sits snuggly into.
  • One third fill the saucepan with water and then set the bowl back on top.
  • Remove the bowl and check that the underside isn't wet. If it is, remove a little bit of water until the bowl is sitting above the water in the saucepan and not in it. Then leave the water in the pan for a minute and place the bowl on the bench.
  • Into the bowl add the yolks, vinegar, as well as 3 tablespoons of cold water and whisk it all together. Leave aside.
  • Place the butter in a small saucepan and over a low heat, leave it to melt. Once done, turn off the heat and leave it to cool down a little while you make the sabayon.
  • Over a high heat, bring the water in the saucepan to the boil and then turn the heat down to medium/low or low, or to where the water is barely simmering (a very soft boil). (If the water is too hot it will cause the egg mixture to scramble.)
  • Place the bowl back on top of the simmering water and slowly whisk it until the sabayon has thickened and tripled in size (also making sure you whisk up around the sides so it doesn't stick there). It should look like softly whipped cream (just as a rough guide mine took 4 minutes).
  • When it's nice 'n' thick 'n' creamy, turn off the heat. Remove the bowl from over the pan and place it onto a damp, folded over tea towel (this is to stop the bowl moving around when you are whisking in the butter).
  • While vigorously whisking, slowly pour in the butter (which still should be warm), a constant thin stream. Just keep slowly pouring it in and whisking until all the butter has been added.
  • Still using the whisk gently fold through the lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.
  • Cover the bowl with aluminium foil and leave on top of, or right by the stove (but not directly by a heat source) until needed.
  • If you like, chop up and sprinkle chives over the top and/or sprinkle over a very small amount of cayenne.

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