How To Make Hollandaise

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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.

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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.

For more recipes, tips, and techniques, visit LaVarenne's website or buy a digital copy of LaVarenne Pratique.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.