Author Topic: Hollandaise Sauce  (Read 1816 times)

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Offline Lobar

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Hollandaise Sauce
« on: January 18, 2006, 08:50:44 am »
NOTE: Hollandaise sauce is a temperature-sensitive emulsion.  If the sauce gets below 90 degrees F (32 C), the butter will solidify, and the sauce cannot be reheated without the emulsion breaking.  If the sauce gets above 110 degrees F (43 C), the emulsion will fail and the butter will seperate from the rest of the sauce.
This means that you will have undercooked egg in your sauce.  To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, it is HIGHLY recommended that you use pasteurized eggs for Hollandaise sauce (they're only like 60-75 cents more a dozen).  Don't screw around with salmonella.
In addition, because of the difficulties at holding the sauce at the proper temperature, Hollandaise sauce should be served immediately after it is made.

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Hollandaise sauce is traditionally made with vinegar, but it is faster, easier, and gets one less pan dirty if you omit the vinegar and increase the lemon juice.  The recipe includes instructions for both methods.

Equipment:
A pot, any size.
A round-bottomed stainless steel mixing bowl that can sit on top of the pot.
A saute pan (unless substituting lemon juice for vinegar).
A wire whisk.
An immersion thermometer.

Ingredients:
1 egg yolk (the fresher, the better)
1/2 a stick of butter, melted
1 tbsp distilled white or white wine vinegar OR lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper (unless substituting lemon juice for vinegar)
1 tbsp cold water
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste (be generous)
A pinch of cayenne pepper (for flavor, not heat)

Put the egg yolk in the stainless steel bowl.  Put some water in the pot (enough that it won't boil dry, but not so much that it will take forever to boil and/or touch the bottom of the mixing bowl) and start bringing it to a boil.

If using vinegar, pour it into a saute pan with the black pepper and heat it until it reduces to almost nothing (au sec).  Remove the pan from heat, and add the water, swirling it around the pan to absorb the vinegar residue (this is known as deglazing).

Making sure it's not too hot, combine the deglazed vinegar with the egg yolk with a wire whisk.  If not using vinegar, just combine the egg with the cold water with a few drops of lemon juice.

The water in the pot should be boiling.  Set the bowl on top of the pot and beat egg mix with the wire whisk, FAST.  Really, whisk the crap out of it.  If you have an electric whisk, use it.  Whisk until the egg mix becomes a light, fluffy liquid, then remove the bowl from the pot.  You can then turn the heat off the pot.
You could also do this over direct heat, but using a pot of boiling water like this reduces the risk of cooking the egg.

Make sure that your melted butter is no hotter than 115 degrees F (46 C), then add it SLOWLY to the egg mix, while beating it in with the whisk.  If you are having difficulty keeping the bowl stable while pouring butter with one hand and whisking with the other, wrap a damp dishtowel around the base of the bowl.

Once the butter is added, stir in lemon juice to taste (at least 1 tbsp if you skipped the vinegar), and salt to taste.  Stir in a pinch of cayenne pepper, or put it on top of the sauce after it's poured for color.  Serve immediately.

You're done!  Enjoy!

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Troubleshooting:

I added the butter too fast and it seperated.
Start over, but use the failed sauce in place of the melted butter.  You may want to add some extra butter as well to keep the sauce from tasting too eggy.

My sauce got too hot when I added the butter and it seperated.
Quickly whisk in a little cold water.  This may or may not work.  If it doesn't work, start over and use the failed sauce in place of the butter as described above.

My sauce got too cold and the butter started to solidify.
Reheat the sauce over the pot of water and let it seperate (unavoidable).  Then start over and use it in place of the butter as described above.

When whisking the egg in the bowl over the pot, the egg started to cook and now I have pieces of scrambled egg in the egg mix.
Eww.  Throw it out, or make scrambled eggs with it.  Then start over, but turn the burner off and put a dishtowel over the top of the pot before putting the bowl on top of it, and whisk faster.
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Offline Lobar

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Hollandaise Sauce
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2006, 04:35:56 am »
Also, to make Bearnaise sauce, add a little well-chopped shallot and tarragon to the vinegar while it's reducing in the pan, and add a little parsley and tarragon to the finished sauce.  (The tarragon is the most important part.)
   Now,
       let's go play, together...
Together under the
             clearest of blue skies.