Classic Hollandaise Sauce

hollandaise sauce
This is the classic recipe for making Hollandaise Sauce. Pronounced  [HOL-uhn-dayz] A rich egg based sauce flavored with a bit of lemon or vinegar, butter and a hint of cayenne pepper. The sauce is served over vegetables, fish, or Eggs Benedict. 

The most important aspect of a successful sauce is to use a double boiler and make sure not to allow the water in the bottom of the double boiler to boil, just remain, hot and lightly simmering.  You can add a tablespoon of cold water if needed to reduce the heat of the water if it starts to boil.

The sauce should be served immediately upon completion.
  • Prep5 min |
  • Total15 min |
  • Serves1 Cup

Ingredients

Instructions

Melt the butter and keep it warm.  

Heat the vinegar or lemon juice until just warmed.  Have small saucepan with boiling water and a measuring tablespoon ready. 

Place the top of a double boiler over (not in) hot water. (This means the bottom of the top of the double boiler sound not make contact with the water heating in the bottom half of the double boiler.)

Place the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler and whisk until they begin to thicken.   Now add 1 tablespoon of the boiling water.  Continue to beat the sauce until it begins to thicken. Repeat with the remaining water, one tablespoon at a time, beating the mixture after each addition.

Now add the warmed vinegar or lemon juice. Remove the double boiler from the heat.   Beat the sauce briskly with a wire whisk. Continue to beat the mixture as you slowly pour in the melted butter.  Add the salt and cayenne and beat the sauce until it is thick. Serve immediately.

Your Hollandaise Sauce Separated, Now What?

1.  If the sauce starts to separate, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream and beat the sauce with a wire whisk until it is smooth once again. 2. If the sauce has curdled, you can put it in a blender and blend it.   This will alter the texture a bit. 

History of Classic Hollandaise Sauce

Alan Davidison states one of the earliest recorded versions of the sauce dates back to 1758 "sauce a la hollandoise" from Marin's Dons de Comus.  This recipe included butter, flour, bouillon, and herbs; no egg yolks. Davidson also quotes from MeGee (1990) who explains eggs are not needed at all and proper emulsification which can simply be done with butter.  He also states that if one does wish to use eggs they are not needed in quantities normally called for in traditional recipes.

Other Sauces Derived From Hollandaise

sauce aux capres - add drained capers
maltaise - add blood organges
mousseline or chantilly - addition of whipped cream
moutarde - with Dijon mustard

Hollandaise In A Pinch

If you're in a pinch and you just don't want to fuss with making your own sauce (it really is the best) then you can purchase dry mixes such as Knorr Hollandaise Sauce or McCormick McCormick Hollandaise Sauce and both get close to 5 stars on Amazon.com.  You can whip up these in just about 10 minutes and you only need to add butter (or margarine) and water. 

Recipes From GourmetSleuth.com - The Gourmet Food And Cooking Resource