Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce is the bane of my existence. There is no other way to put it. I love it, I love putting it on food, but I hate making it. No, it's not that hard or time intensive, but it breaks. All the time. And I get so frustrated! Probably not a good thing that I mostly make it at breakfast (I'm probably cranky). I tried clarified butter, cold butter, warm yolks, and ancient rain dancing, but nothing worked. But alas, I think I have finally figured it out. Water! Yes, as I was flipping through all of my cookbooks, I found that the Joy of Cooking calls for some water to be added. This thins out the sauce a little bit and relaxes the strain on the egg proteins. And it was amazing. The sauce held quite nicely and even stayed together on the stove for when people came asking for seconds. Success! Now something else can be my bane.

Hollandaise Sauce (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)

3 egg yolks
1 1/2 T lemon juice
pinch cayenne pepper
1 stick butter, melted
4 T warm water

First step, make a double boiler. Take a glass or stainless steel bowl and find a pot that the bottom just fits into. Fill the pot about half full with water and place it over medium high heat until it is just simmering. If you do this sauce over direct heat I can almost guarantee you it will be a disaster.

In the bowl whisk the egg yolks until slightly light and frothy. Whisk over heat and add 1 T water until the eggs just start to thicken, 3-5 minutes. Add the rest of the water 1 T at a time letting the eggs thicken in between. If you feel the eggs are getting too hot, pull the bowl out of the heat. Add the lemon juice. Remove the bowl from the heat and very slowly add the butter, stirring constantly until all the butter is incorporated (if you need to warm up the sauce while doing this place over the boiler for a few seconds). Leave the white solids from the butter (milk solids) out if possible. Whisk in the cayenne, season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a few drops of water. Serve immediately. To keep the sauce warm, place your mixing bowl in a larger bowl with some warm water and cover.

Note- If you want to boost the flavor even more, reduce ½ cup white wine to about 2 T and mix with the lemon juice before adding to the sauce.


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