If you are looking for the easiest way to make Hollandaise sauce that won’t break apart or curdle then you’ve found it. Apart from buying a jar of ready-made Hollandaise from the supermarket, there is nothing quicker or easier. As well as basic Hollandaise sauce, I’ve also included the method for making foaming Hollandaise, which has the advantage over normal Hollandaise, in that you can freeze it, therefore you can make it in bulk, and defrost just when you need it, for instance on Sunday mornings when making Eggs Benedict.
Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and fat, and is one of the five ‘mother’ sauces in French cuisine (the others being Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole and Vinaigrette) and it is in effect a warm mayonnaise. Since Hollandaise is a mother sauce, there are many variations and derivatives such as Béarnaise, Noisette, Crème Fleurette, Colbert, Café de Paris, Vin Blanc, Bavaroise, Choron, Foyot, Girondine, Maltaise, Mousseline, Divine and Paloise to name a few. The name Hollandaise, is thought to have come from a Dutch sauce that French cooks served to a visiting King of the Netherlands.
My first attempts at Hollandaise sauce came about after coming back from a trip to New Zealand. It seemed to be that every place we stopped for breakfast served Eggs Benedict. I was hooked, and after coming home and being disappointed with store bought versions of Hollandaise, I set out to try to make my own. Reading through recipe books you could be mistaken in thinking that horrors await you when trying to make Hollandaise, from curdling to splitting, from religiously stirring to worrying about the heat. The method I use is foolproof and has never gone wrong for me yet. I’m sure purist will complain that it doesn’t use a bain-marie or that it not what is taught in culinary school. Piffle! Follow these instructions and you will have lashings of delicious home-made Hollandaise.
- 2 large egg yolks
- 110g (4 oz) butter
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
I use an electric hand whisk, but you could easily use a food processor or a blender instead.
- First heat the lemon juice and vinegar in a small pan (it helps to use a pan with a pouring spout) until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Add some salt and pepper to the eggs yolks and whisk for about minute.
- Slowly pour the hot lemon juice and vinegar over the blended egg yolks in a steady stream until combined.
- Melt the butter in the same pan over a gentle heat, being careful not to allow the butter to brown.
- When the butter has started to foam, gently and slowly pour it into the egg mixture while whisking.
- Once the butter has been incorporated, use a spatula to scrape around the edges and whisk one more time.
You should end up with a smooth, thick and buttery sauce. Use it immediately or pour into a heated Thermos flask until ready to serve. As well as Eggs Benedict, Hollandaise sauce goes particularly well with fish, vegetables and especially asparagus.
Foaming Hollandaise sauce
A couple of problems exist with standard Hollandaise sauce. One, you are left with egg whites, and two, it can’t be frozen or re-heated. The answer is to make foaming Hollandaise sauce.
After you have made standard Hollandaise,
- Whisk the egg whites until the soft peak stage
- Then gently fold into the Hollandaise Sauce with a spatula until it has been fully blended.
Any left-overs can be frozen and then gently re-heated using a bain-marie.