Hollandaise Sauce

(Recipes follow)

Sauces are the “pièces de rèsistance” of French cooking and Hollandaise is one of the best. Because of its reputation, hollandaise is feared by many cooks, but after you’ve studies these tips on making it, you’ll find that it is really not as difficult to make as you may believe.

Golden rich Hollandaise is made of heated egg yolks into which butter has been added and flavored with lemon juice. Like mayonnaise, it belongs to the family of emulsified sauces that depend on the properties of egg yolks to achieve the proper thick and creamy consistency. To assure the egg yolks thickening into a smooth cream, they must be heated slowly over low heat and stirred constantly. Too sudden heat will make them grainy and overcooking may cause you to have scrambled eggs. Make sure the water over which you are cooking is not boiling hot.

A flawless Hollandaise depends largely on how you add the butter. Egg yolks will absorb only a small quantity of butter at a time so it must be added very slowly and in small amounts. If too much is mixed in at one time (especially at first) the sauce won’t thicken. If after the sauce is made you realize this has happened, put a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of sauce into a mixing bowl which has been rinsed in hot water. Beat this with a wire whisk until the sauce creams and thickens, then add the rest of the sauce (half a tablespoon at a time) beating until each addition of sauce has thickened.

After you begin adding the butter if the yolks seem to be thickening too quickly or appear lumpy, you can remedy this by immediately putting the bottom of the pan into cold water and beating the yolks to cool them. (Have a pan of cold water, with some ice cubes in it, ready just in case.) Continue beating after returning them to the heat. When you are able to see the bottom of the pan while beating the yolks and the sauce is the consistency of light cream and coats the whisk, the egg yolks have thickened to the proper stage.

When the total amount of butter is too much to be absorbed by the egg yolks, your sauce may congeal or curdle. To avoid this, use the minimum amount of butter called for in the recipe. But, if in spite of your precautions it does, beat an ice cube or a tablespoon of cold water into the mixture to bring back its smooth texture.

Since proper heat regulation is so important when cooking Hollandaise, we recommend that you cook it in a double boiler over water or a saucepan set in a shallow frying pan partially filled with hot water. In this way the sauce cooks IN the heat, so to speak, instead of ABOVE the heat, as it would in a double boiler. With this saucepan-in-frying pan method, you can actually see that the water in the frying pan never boils. It is best to keep the water on LOW heat. If tiny bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the water, remove the sauce and quickly add one or two tablespoons of cold water.

After you have finished making your Hollandaise, serve it warm, not hot, for if it is kept hot it will thicken and curdle. You can keep it perfectly for an hour or more by putting it over a pan of lukewarm water.

If you’re really in a hurry and have a blender, you might want to try blender Hollandaise. It’s virtually foolproof and a real time-saver. The consistency is somewhat thinner than Basic Hollandaise but it will thicken perfectly after you pour it over hot foods.


½ cup butter
4 egg yolks, well beaten
2 to 2½ tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of white pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the top of a double boiler, then pour gradually into the beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return yolks to pan and place pan in or over hot water. Add the remaining butter by tablespoons; stir after each tablespoon until each is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice, pepper and salt.


1 egg
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
½ cup butter

Combine egg, lemon juice and seasonings in blender container. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Blend egg mixture in container until well mixed. Add bubbling butter gradually, blending until thickened and smooth. This makes approximately ¾ cup sauce.

What Is The Recipe For The Sauce That Is Used On Top Of The Sirloin Filet In The French Restaurant Named Relaisdevenise That Is Located In France And London? They Do Have A .com Address Please Help Me Find Out! Thanks

I’ve been making hollandaise for 65 years. It requires undivided attention for 5 min. I use 2 egg yolks, juice of half lemon, 1 stick margarine (doesn’t curdle as easily as butter) cut in three pieces (one slightly larger). In small saucepan over medium heat stir together yolks, lemon juice and one smaller piece of margarine, when it is almost melted add second smaller piece, continue stirring, when it is almost melted add larger piece and stir til mixture thickens to coat spoon and margarine is not quite all melted. Remove from heat, continue to stir til melted, sprinkle with cayenne lightly and serve. If margarine melts before mixture thickens, have bowl of ice water available to set pan in as soon as it thickens to stop cooking.