A Collection of Hollandaise Sauces
As best served at breakfast on your Eggs Benedict
Hollandaise is Escoffier's lately-added
fifth Mother Sauce
of classic French cuisine.
Like Béarnaise and Mayonnaise, Hollandaise is an emulsion of oil (or butter) and egg yolks.
Though the most important flavour is the lemon juice,
Hollandaise recipes vary from the simple
(just lemon juice)
to the highly complex
(adding a vinegar reduction - not too disimilar from Béarnaise).
Reduced (by half) white wine vinegar is the most common addition,
with white peppercorns (Martin Wishart
or crushed coriander seeds (Gordon Ramsay
) also quite popular.
2 Tablespoons water
2 egg yolks
225g (8oz) clarified butter
juice of ½ lemon
a good pinch of cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
Put the water and egg yolks into a stainless-steel or glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water,
making sure that the base of the bowl is not touching the water.
Whisk until voluminous and creamy.
Remove the bowl from the pan and gradually whisk in the clarified butter until thick.
Then whisk in the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.
This sauce is best used as soon as it is made but will hold for up to 2 hours if kept covered in a warm place,
such as over a pan of warm water or in a wide vacuum flask.
2 Tbsps white wine vinegar
2 Tbsps water
1 tsp lightly crushed white peppercorns
4 egg yolks
250g (8½oz) unsalted butter, clarified
juice of ½ lemon
pinch of cayenne pepper
Place the vinegar, water and peppercorns in a small heavy-based pan and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute, or until reduced by one-third (to about 2½tbsp).
Remove from the heat and leave until cold, then strain the liquid into a heatproof bowl.
Add the egg yolks to the liquid and whisk together.
Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water:
the base should be just above the water.
Whisk the mixture for 5-6 minutes,
or until it thickens and is riboon-like, creamy, and smooth in texture.
Place the bowl on a dampened tea towel.
Slowly add the clarified butter,
pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream and whisking until the sauce is thick and glossy.
Add the lemon juice, then season with salt and white pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Serve at once.
If you need to keep the hollandaise warm, use a bain-marie or transfer it to a thermos flask.
25g unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp white peppercorns, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1 tarragon sprig
½ bay leaf
1 parsley stalk
25ml white wine vinegar
25ml dry white wine
2 egg yolks
75ml warm clarified butter
salt and cayenne pepper
juice of ½ lemon
Melt the butter in a small pan and add the shallot, garlic, crushed pepper and herbs.
Cook for 5 minutes, without colouring.
Add the wine vinegar and boil until totally reduced, then add the wine and reduce until syrupy.
Strain and set aside.
Whisk the egg yolks with 1½ tsp water in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water until thick.
Slowly whisk in the clarified butter, then add the wine and shallot reduction, whisking to a smooth, thick sauce.
Season with a little salt and cayenne and add the lemon juice, to taste.
Serve warm, as soon as possible; do not reheat.
The simplest, quickest, Hollandaise sauce
The simplest Hollandaise you can imagine. This one doesn't even use clarified butter - just the melted regular kind!
Makes 1 cup
Sure the traditional recipes use clarified butter,
and then you need to add a little water (or vinegar) to thin the sauce otherwise it will be the texture of mayonnaise.
However, if you use unclarified butter (with all it's whey-ey foam),
then that isn't necessary and you should end up with pourable sauce the consistency of thick gravy.
- 2 egg yolks (large)
- ¾ cup/6 oz/170g butter (unclarified!)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (around ½ a small lemon)
- pinch of salt
- dash cayenne pepper
Melt the butter, juice the lemon, and separate the egg yolks.
Mix the egg yolks with the lemon juice in a bowl.
Beat the egg yolks either over simmering water, or directly over the heat if the bowl is metal and you're brave.
Warm the eggs, beating, until they thicken and start to coat the bottom of the bowl when it is tilted.
When you lift the whisk out the mixture will stick to it and fall back in ribbons.
A particularly good indication is steam: the moment you see a small whisp of steam coming from the eggs take them off the heat.
Keep whisking now - there will still be residual heat in the bowl, and gradually whisk in the butter: starting very slowly with a thin drizzle,
stopping after each teaspoonful to start with.
You can speed up slightly once you've got the emulsion going.
Season with salt and cayenne pepper and that's it. Serve the sauce immediately.
It should be made and served lukewarm, and won't reheat, but you can keep it in a warmed thermos for an hour or two if necessary.
Orange Hollandaise Sauce
This version is from an old typewritten sheet of notes.
- 8 oz butter
- 3 egg yolks
- pinch of salt, pepper, sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- juice of one blood orange
Melt the butter, put the egg yolks, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a bowl and beat, standing over a pan of simmering water
Take care not to let the mixture boil, otherwise the egg yolks will curdle.
Fold the warmed butter slowly into the mixture, a little at a time, adding more butter once the previous amount has been completely absorbed.
If the sauce should curdle, add a few drops of iced water and beat vigorously until smooth again.
Whisk in the orange juice then serve immediately with e.g. asparagus.