Hollandaise sauce is one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine — a basic sauce that is delicious on its own or can be used to make several other sauces. Widely-known as a key ingredient in classic Eggs Benedict, hollandaise sauce is made by emulsifying liquid butter and egg yolks. It’s important to use a heavy non-aluminum pan when you’re making hollandaise so that the heat is evenly distributed and the eggs cook to a texture close to that of a mousse — copper is the ideal metal. Anne Willan’s LaVarenne Pratique, an essential culinary reference book for both novice and expert cooks, shares this hollandaise recipe.
Ingredients to make 1 cup of sauce
¾ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
3 egg yolks
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Juice of ½ lemon (or to taste)
Melt the butter then skim the froth from the surface with a spoon. Let the butter cool until tepid. In a small heavy saucepan, whisk the water and egg yolks with a little salt and pepper for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and light in color. Set the pan over a low heat (be sure the base of the pan should not be too hot or the eggs will scramble) and whisk for 3 minutes or until the mixture is thickened slightly. You can test the consistency of the sauce by taking a spoonful and drizzling it back into the pot; if the portion that was drizzled on top remains visible for about five seconds, the sauce is thick enough.
Remove from heat and whisk in the tepid butter, a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce thickens, then pour in a steady stream.
Leave the milky whey at the bottom of the pan. Then, stir in the lemon juice and season. The consistency of hollandaise should be light enough to pour easily from a spoon. If it is too thick, add more water or lemon juice.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.