Monday, August 12, 2013

The Best Hollandaise Sauce You'll Ever Eat

I'm a big fan of breakfast. On lazy weekends, I lay in bed and think about what I'm going to make for breakfast when I get up. Even when I was in high school my parents frequently had to vacate the kitchen while I made waffles, pancakes, breakfast burritos, or any other egg dish that tickled my fancy that morning. Eggs Benedict was always a treat growing up and I never even attempted to make it on one of those lazy mornings because my mom's Hollandaise sauce was so delicious I was always intimidated to try it on my own. Since then I very rarely order Eggs Benedict when I go out for breakfast and I always rave to whoever I'm with about how my mom's recipe has ruined all others for me. Well, it was time to ante up. I tried making the recipe without my mom's instruction, for the sake of judging the recipe to a true Eggs Benedict fan.

The title above is a bold statement. I only make this claim based on years of watching my mom make this for friends and family and watching their reactions. The difference with this recipe: you can actually taste the lemon. It's not in-your-face lemony, but lemony enough to remind you that it's there, not to be forgotten. The stronger lemon flavor also helps to cut through the heaviness of the cream, butter and egg yolks. One note about the lemon juice. If you're going to be juicing a lemon, be sure to strain the juice so there is no pulp in it. I didn't do that this time and it tasted fine, but it made what is supposed to be a perfectly smooth sauce look lumpy.

The trick with making Hollandaise sauce is that you absolutely cannot be in a hurry. You can't speed up the process by cranking the heat, which can be a tendency of mine when I'm cooking. Low heat, constant watching, and constant stirring are key. And don't be afraid to take it off the heat while you check the thickness. Those few seconds can be the difference between literally making or "breaking" the sauce. Hollandaise sauce can be fussy and definitely requires patience, but the rewards are well-worth it. Once you've tried this recipe, you may be tempted to put Hollandaise sauce on anything and everything. Remember, it's not just for breakfast! It's great for dressing up otherwise normal vegetables like broccoli or asparagus too. Enjoy!

Perfect Hollandaise Sauce

Serves 2-3


4 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks
5 tablespoons heavy cream
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

  1. In a small sauce pan melt butter over low heat. Take pan off the heat. Let sit 3-5 minutes.
  2. With pan still off the heat, add egg yolks, cream and lemon juice, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Put pan back on low heat. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until sauce thickens. The sauce should be able to coat the spoon and hold its shape when running a finger down the back of the spoon, like this: 
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Note: Do not be afraid to take the sauce off the heat while testing. Those few seconds can literally make or "break" your sauce.

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