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Homemade French Ambroisa – Hollandaise Sauce

Fresh hollaindaise sauce

Vipul has been meaning to make Hollandaise Sauce for sometime now. Every time I show him pictures of poached eggs, he thinks about making some. But having heard how temperamental Hollandaise is, we have never actually tried it.

Till this past Sunday, he decided to give it a try. Worst case, it will either curdle or thin out. We can throw it out and make something else. Thus mentally prepared we turned to Julia Child’s – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The only cook book we own.In our experience, no one explains the how and why’s of a recipe better than her. Especially the tricky temperamental ones.

We followed her recipe and were delighted to have creamy hollandaise at the first attempt! We quickly made some poached eggs (another first) and devoured it all.

Separating yolks from whites

The success of Hollandaise is on preparation and patience. Have all ingredients ready – cold water bath, cold butter as well as softened/melted butter. Carefully separate yolks from the egg whites – taking care there is no white left behind as whites cook at lower temperature and can scramble the entire batch. And have a steady hand while whisking. The cold butter acts as an insurance against the eggs scrambling – Ms Child advises! Patience is amply rewarded here with a fragrant lemony sauce that does wonders to eggs, vegetables or even potatoes.Customize it with paprika or mustard to lend a different taste.

Sauce thickening

Be warned this sauce does not store for too long as the egg yolks are partially cooked. Unlike store-bought sauce, this isn’t pasteurized. But like everything homemade, will taste so much better that you will want to make it fresh and use it up all.

Luckily we didn’t have the sauce curdle or scramble on us. Neither did it thin out so don’t have any disaster recovery tips. Hopefully the cooking Gods continue to smile on us!

Poached eggs and homemade hollaindaise sauce

Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
Yields about 1 – 1/2 cups
From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

  • 3 eggs yolks (carefully separated)
  • 1 table spoon cold butter
  •  1 table-spoon lemon juice
  •  1 table-spoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 sticks butter softened to melted
  • A bowl of cold water (for disaster recovery!)

1. Whisk eggs yolks for about a minute in a saucepan till they are pale yellow and creamy.

2. Add the cold butter, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and whisk again for a couple of minutes.

3. Now, place the saucepan on low to medium heat. And continue whisking. The sauce will thicken. Now and then take the pan off the heat and whisk, making sure that the whisk reaches the pan’s corners.After couple of minutes, it will drape creamily over the whisk. When you whisk, you will start seeing the pan’s bottom.
If you see the sauce curdle or scramble, take it off the heat and plunge the pan in cold water.

4. Now take the pan off the heat and gradually add the softened butter, initially 1/4 tablespoons at a time and later about a table-spoon at a time. Continue whisking with each addition of butter, letting the yolks absorb the butter before adding more.

5. Once the butter is incorporated, taste, adjust seasoning and keep in the pan next to cooking range if not serving immediately.

Serve warm over eggs, veggies or potatoes.
Store left overs for up to a day or so in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat by setting the container in warm water and whisking or microwave for about a minute, whisking at 15 sec intervals.

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