I think Hollandaise must be what the angels eat…Perhaps we earthlings aren’t meant to eat it at all, or if we do indulge, it should be done so sparingly and seldom.
I didn’t like Hollandaise when I first had it at a diner as a young woman, then I was introduced to the “real” stuff. I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard.
I spoke to a younger person, just today, who worked as a host in a diner. He was vehement in his disdain; the diner makes their’s from a mix. So my point is this: If you love it, you’ll love this classic recipe. If you don’t think you like Hollandaise, try the real stuff. The photos show Hollandaise on Salmon and Asparagus Hash.
It’s hard to go wrong: about two minutes to make in the blender for a cost of around 90 cents if the ingredients are bought on sale. This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of the dreamiest Hollandaise: Not overly thick, but just thick enough to pour, run a bit, then hold onto a poached egg. If you like yours a bit thicker, let it cool just a bit.
This sauce can be made in a food processor, too, if your cutting blade hits very close to the bottom of the processor bowl, or in a sturdy jar or glass with a stick blender. Or by hand! (see notes in the recipe and below it if you’ve had trouble with your Hollandaise turning out.)
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into pieces
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 or 4 drops tabasco or a pinch of cayenne
Melt butter on the stove or in the microwave until quite hot. Make certain to melt in a container that is quite a bit larger than the butter as it tends to foam. A two cup Pyrex works well. After a minute in the microwave, remove and stir, then continue to heat until all the butter is melted completely, then a few seconds more.
In a blender, add egg yolks, mustard, lemon and hot sauce. This is a small amount and the acid and the mustard help emulsify, so make sure to get those ingredients to the bottom with the yolks. Blend on medium speed until the yolks are lightened in color.
Take the small, round piece out of the top of the blender lid, and holding a towel around it with cupped hand, very slowly add the melted butter in the thinnest stream possible, as the blender runs on high-speed.
About halfway through the pouring, the noise made by the blender will change; this means the sauce is beginning to get thick…keep pouring while mixing until the butter is gone. You may need to open the blender at this point and stir up from the bottom just a bit, scrape the sides, then turn the blender back on high for a second or two.
Remove from blender; you may need to open the bottom of the blender to remove what may be a slightly bit thicker Hollandaise caught up in the blades. Gently stir all together and keep warm until serving. Cover and wrap in a towel, set in a warm place if it will be only a few minutes. A warmed thermos will keep the Hollandaise longer. If necessary reheat in a pan of barely simmering water for a moment.
Hollandaise becomes thicker when the sauce cools and the butter solidifies.
Although it is never quite the same, I’ve had ok results with reheating hollandaise that has been overnight in the fridge by putting it in the microwave on the defrost setting, stopping it to stir about every 30 seconds. Once it begins to get soft, stop and stir about every 5 seconds.
Once this gets hot, the butter melts and it will never really come together again, so you’ll probably need to settle for slightly warm.
Problem with Hollandaise?
I wish I could answer every question about it I’ve seen in queries all over the internet – so often they are answered by people who say things like: “This works every time I make it,” “Or it’s so simple, I don’t know what you could be doing wrong” as if the frustrated person is at fault. It’s just very likely the “know it all” answering doesn’t know as much or have as much experience as they are implying.
There are usually several issues, and nothing is difficult about Hollandaise, so if you can figure out which one, try it again.
- First and foremost: If Hollandaise does not turn out, it is most likely the tool being used to mix it. Many food processors and a lot of the new blenders have mixing units (blender) or cutting blades (food processor) that sit too far off the bottom to catch and emulsify the small amount of egg mixture enough to accept the oil when added. The Hollandaise could be made 20 times with the same result! It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault…ok, so I love Goodwill Hunting…Solution: Double the mixture, mix the yolks, stir them up, mix some more, repeat, then begin to add the butter only when the eggs are lightened in color. Or switch out whichever appliance one is using…
- Secondly: All ingredients aren’t mixed together and lightened in color before the eggs are added.
- Thirdly: Butter is added too quickly and the sauce looks curdled. If this is caught in time, sometimes multiple pulses will blend things together, opening and stirring and then pulsing again might help. If it doesn’t, don’t keep adding the butter…that’s throwing good money after bad.
- Fourthly: I’ve not ever encountered this problem, but I have read that if the eggs aren’t fresh enough there could be issues and if the butter isn’t hot enough, the same. I cannot, for certain, say these things cause issues, but I have seen them discussed before. I suspect they are non issues as I’ve often used older eggs and when I make mayonnaise (the same process) the oil isn’t heated.
- Last of all: See the First and foremost: It is probably your blender of food processor.
Kitchen & Cooking Hacks:
By the way, although it is fairly easy to drizzle the butter into the blender with a Pyrex measuring cup or some other tool that has a spout, it is even easier to appropriate your food processor pushing tool – the tube that goes down into the opening of the food processor.
Look at your feed tube – If it has a small hole in the bottom, that hole is made for just such an operation. Hold it over the blender and fill it with the hot butter, very carefully fill it with the hot butter, I meant to say…and just to emphasize, fill it very, very carefully with the extremely hot butter…and it will drizzle the butter (or oil, if you’re making mayonnaise) at the perfect speed to emulsify either mayonnaise or Hollandaise Sauce as well as many other salad dressings, etc.
Recipe made and priced March 2014 – using all sales priced ingredients. Expect it to be close to twice as much if paying off the shelf prices…
RAW EGG WARNING: This recipe contains undercooked egg – Use caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.