Welcome to Whisk Wednesdays!
I now have a couple of buddies who will join me as I cook my way through a cooking school curriculum. I'm so excited to find other bloggers who are interested in doing this too! I've had to organize myself a bit and have explained it all HERE. We will probably have to make adjustments as we go, but it should be fun. You should join us!
This week it's Hollandaise sauce, another of the five mother sauces. (Velouté, Espagnole, Béchamel, and Tomato are the others.) Hollandaise is similar to mayonnaise and lemon curd, but it's served warm.
Hollandaise is basically a sabayon, which is a foamy, emulsified mixture of yolks and liquid (in this case water). If you were to add sugar and a sweet wine, you would have zabaglione. But, today we're adding a ton (only half a pound) of butter to the sabayon.
History and Tips
Hollandaise dates back to the 17th century and used to be named Sauce Isigny, which is a town in Normandy famous for its butter. However, during World War I, France could no longer produce butter so they imported it from Holland and the name stuck. (from Linda Stradley at What's Cooking America)
Hollandaise is a tricky beast and requires constant attention, sorta like kids. You must whisk constantly to ensure the eggs don't stick to the bottom of the pan and to keep the texture smooth, not grainy.
There are different ways of making hollandaise: with a double boiler or directly over the flame. With clarified butter or with cubes of unsalted butter. With a blender or just a whisk.
Today, I tried putting the yolks directly over the flame (or burner, in my case!) and whisked constantly. I also made two batches: one using clarified butter and the other using butter cubes. The sauce with the clarified butter was runnier, plus I prefer the flavor from using the milk solids from good 'ol butter (and I'm not wasting any precious butter).
Earlier this year, I made lemon curd for a lemon cream tart and at the same time tried making a hollandaise sauce following the method suggested for Dorie's The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart. It turned out great. This is yet another option for making hollandaise.
Many things can go wrong with this sauce, but here are the tips I found to try to correct the problem.
• If curdled, blend in a blender although the texture won't be the same. You may just want to start over.
• If broken, try whisking in a little cream or water. The sauce may break if it becomes too hot. In this case cooling it off with cold water or an ice cube might do the trick.
• If too thick, add a little boiling water.
• If too thin, you may have added the butter too fast.
If you have the time (and an extra half pound of butter lying around), just start over! That's what I ended up doing after finding my first batch too runny. I put it back on the stove to reheat since it had been sitting out too long for the photo shoot(!), which quickly caused it to break into many pieces!
Watch a Pro
• Here is a great video showing how to make hollandaise.
• Here is another video with Alton Brown demonstrating hollandaise (jump to the 2 minute mark).
I also found these cool links:
• Here's one that shows a picture of deep-fried hollandaise!
• Here's a good article with more background information about hollandaise.
Recipe for Hollandaise
You can find the recipe for Hollandaise in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the group fared (all 3 of us!) with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger!
For a variation, you can add Dijon mustard (or whatever mustard you want) to taste. This version tasted great on a ham roast we had. I also tried it on asparagus and the Eggs Benedict and loved it on these too.
Recipe for Eggs Benedict
1 English Muffin, toasted
1-2 slices back bacon, cooked
1 poached egg
Freshly ground black pepper
Eggs Benedict always seemed so special when we went out for breakfast. Everyone else would order it, and I would order my French Toast. Now, though, I've discovered how much I love this heart-unfriendly breakfast fare and plan on making it more often. The hollandaise was rich and buttery, smooth and creamy, with a slight tang from the lemon. The hardest part of this dish is getting the poached egg properly poached (not too underdone and not too overdone). I still need practice on this front.
The mustard version was delicious too, perfect for a variation on Eggs Benedict or with ham and asparagus.
The best tip I learned was to use a thermos to store the Hollandaise sauce in until you're ready to serve. Brilliant, I tell you.
Next Week (June 25)
• Sauce Béarnaise (Warm emulsified sauce derived from Hollandaise sauce) on page 250
• Coeur de Filet Henri IV (Filet mignons with artichokes and Béarnaise sauce)
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Running total: $440.68 + $3.31 (Hollandaise) + $2.40 (Eggs Benedict) = $446.39
Butter used so far: 5 pounds, 29 tablespoons
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Check out the other posts for Whisk Wednesdays:
Grandma's Kitchen Table - Hollandaise Sauce and Moutarde Sauce
InsomniMom - Hollandaise and Sauce Moutarde