This classic hollandaise is a rich and buttery sauce that is perfect for those special occasions.
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I've been waiting awhile for this lesson. Thank you so much for making it so clear and detailed. This is one of those lessons that makes me go "whew -- am I really ready for this?"
The unfortunate thing is that the final product has to be used up within an hour and a half. One and a half cups of hollandaise is a lot to make for an intimate breakfast for two. Cutting the recipe in half might be about right, but you claim that using only one egg yolk makes the whisking difficult.
This was my 2nd recipe from the rouxbe school. Yesteday I made the Cod Provencal, and had leftovers, so, thought the Hollandaise would make a lovely complement and follow up.
My first try, did not work out. It was thin, and I couldnt get it to thicken up. I went back and looked at my notes, and suspected that I may not have beaten the eggs over the water bath long enough, before adding the butter. So, not derailed, I decided to try again.
My 2nd try, I waited until the eggs riched a much thicker consistency (ribbon like) as you say...almost pudding like to me, before taking them off the water bath and adding the butter. And also made sure the butter was closer to the recommended temp (130-140). I used up all but about 1/4 cup of the butter, and it came out so lovely! Thick and rich! I added about 1/2 tsp of vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, and a bit of cayenne and was in heaven! Sadly, while heating up my brussel sprouts and preparing a rice pilaf to go with my fish, I had my sauce over some simmering water, and it broke!! I tried to fix it with the egg/cream method, but it didnt work.
So, I tried one more time, (the third time). Unfortunatelly, I was out of butter, but found some butter in the back of the fridge. Everything worked well (as the 2nd time), however the end result had a faint fridgerator taste....alas I have learned something. The quality and freshness of the butter is critical in this sauce. I still used it, but still have fonder memories of my 2nd try.
My advice to anyone on this recipe is to try again if your first attempt doesnt work. Dont be afraid to whisk the sabayon as long as you need to get the required consistency before adding the butter! Lastly, be careful while trying to hold it...if you put it over too much heat (ie over simmering water), it will break! Good luck to everyone!
I've made hollandaise for years, but not like this. This is much nicer and easier to count on it turning out than what I've been doing previously. I used one egg yolk with success, but I think 2 yolks would be much easier to work with.
As to storage, a couple of things: When I lived in Vancouver, there was a place on Granville Island that sold it in a little tub from a cooler. So, when I've made it before, I've always stored the left over and used it later (e.g., make it for supper one day and use it the next morning or dinner the next day). While it tastes best and looks nicest right away, the left-overs are still a treat for me. When I use the left-over portion, I put it in a little dish in the top part of my double-boiler steamer over hot water just to take the chill off. Hasn't killed me yet, but I suspect it's not particularly foodsafe.
While "easier" certainly has its place in a modern kitchen, I would hesitate to call it a better way. The satisfaction of creating a carefully crafted hollandaise while learning to address and overcome all the dangers and obstacles along the way is worth the effort. Lessons are learned from both the failures and the successes.
It explains why mountain climbers seek to find the most difficult routes in their quest to conquer a mountain. I conquered something today, with little more than a whisk and a couple of egg yolks. It felt great!
I've made the other versions of hollandaise. They may be a little easier (although maybe not if you have to clarify the butter first). For the extra 5 minutes this takes and the effort of flailing away at the puddle in the bowl for a few minutes, I thought there was a really big difference in taste and appearance. I doubt I'll make it any other way again.