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La Belle Cuisine - The Hollandaise Family

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"Don't be a fuddy-duddy with your hollandaise;
be bold, dunk your pretzels in it!"
~ Miss Piggy

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La Belle Cuisine



“The French are credited with refining the sophisticated art of sauce-making.
It was the 19th-century French chef Antonin Carême who evolved an intricate methodology by which hundreds of sauces were classified under one of five
"mother sauces."
  Those are:

 Espagnole (Brown) (brown stock-based) 

Velouté (light stock-based)

Béchamel (basic white sauce)

Hollandaise and Mayonnaise (emulsified sauces)

Vinaigrette (oil-and-vinegar combinations)”
(from The New Food Lover's Companion
by Sharon Tyler Herbst)


The Hollandaise Family

Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Boxed Set: Volumes 1 and 2

Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck,
1961, Alfred A. Knopf
(most recent edition pictured above, Knopf)


Sauce Hollandaise

Hollandaise sauce is made of warmed egg yolks flavored with lemon juice, into which butter is gradually incorporated to make a thick, yellow, creamy sauce.
It is probably the most famous of all sauces, and is often the most dreaded, as
the egg yolks can curdle and the sauce can turn. It is extremely easy and almost foolproof to make in the electric blender… But we feel it is of great importance
that you learn how to make hollandaise by hand, for part of every good cook’s general knowledge is a thorough familiarity with the vagaries of egg yolks
under all conditions. The following recipe takes 5 minutes, and is almost as fast
as blender hollandaise.  It is only one of numerous methods for hollandaise, all
of which accomplish the same result. That of forcing egg yolks to absorb butter
and hold it in creamy suspension.

TWO POINTS TO REMEMBER when making hollandaise by hand

The heating and thickening of egg yolks

So that the egg yolks will thicken into a smooth cream, they must be heated
slowly and gradually. Too sudden heat will make them granular. Overcooking
scrambles them. You may beat them over hot water or over low heat; it makes
no difference as long as the process is slow and gentle.

The butter

Egg yolks will readily absorb a certain quantity of butter when it is fed to
them gradually, giving them time to incorporate each addition before another
is presented. When too much is added at a time, particularly at first, the sauce
will not thicken. And if the total amount of butter is more than the eggs can
absorb, the sauce will curdle. About 3 ounces of butter is the usual amount
per yolk. But if you have never made hollandaise before, it is safer not to go
over 2 ounces or 1/4 cup.

[For the recipe, because of its simplified procedure, we have chosen
the version in
The Way to Cook, Julia Child, 1994, Alfred A. Knopf.]

 For about 1 cup

3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice,
plus more later as needed
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter,
half at first and half later
5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) melted unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Special equipment suggested: A 6-cup fairly heavy-bottomed stainless saucepan and a wire whisk; a pan and a small ladle for the melted butter

Preliminaries: Vigorously whisk the egg yolks in the saucepan for a
good minute or so, until they are thick and pale yellow, then whisk in
the lemon juice. Add 2 tablespoons of cold butter, which while melting
slowly will act as a kind of anti-curdling insurance.

The egg-yolk sauce base: Set the pan over low heat, whisking at a
moderate pace and watching carefully until in a minute or more the
egg yolks have thickened and you can see the bottom of the pan be-
tween strokes. At once remove from heat and beat in the remaining
[2 tablespoons] cold butter a tablespoon at a time to stop the cooking.

Adding the butter: By driblets, beat in the warm melted butter to
make a thick sauce. Whisk in the seasonings, adding a little more lemon
juice if you feel it is needed.

Ahead-of-time note: You can keep hollandaise for a certain amount of
time over the faint heat of a pilot light, or near a stove top burner. If it
is kept too warm the egg yolks will start to scramble and force the butter
out of suspension – the sauce will turn, in other words. However, since
egg yolks are a fine breeding ground for bacteria, the safest advance plan
is to cook the sauce base, and chill it. Just before serving, whisk over very low heat or hot water to loosen it, and then beat in the hot melted butter.

First Aid for Turned Sauce: If your sauce refuses to thicken or thins
out after you’ve made it, or looks curdled, here’s how to fix it – unless
the eggs have actually scrambled because of overheating:
Whisk up the sauce and dip out a tablespoon into a mixing bowl.
Whisk it with a tablespoon of lemon juice for a moment until it creams
and thickens; gradually whisk in  little dribbles of the sauce, letting
each addition cream and thicken before adding more.


You may add other flavors to the finished hollandaise. If you whisk in reduced fish-braising juice, you have officially produced a white wine
sauce, sauce vin blanc. The addition of whipped cream makes it a
sauce mousseline.


Hollandaise Sauce Made
in the Electric Blender

Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Boxed Set: Volumes 1 and 2

Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck,
1961, Alfred A. Knopf
(most recent edition pictured above, Knopf)

This very quick method for making hollandaise cannot fail when you add your butter in a small stream of droplets. If the sauce refuses to thicken, pour it out,
then pour it back into the whizzing machine in a thin stream of droplets. As the butter cools, it begins to cream and forms itself into a thick sauce. If you are used
to handmade hollandaise, you may find the blender variety lacks something in quality; this is perhaps due to complete homogenization. But as the technique is well within the capabilities of a 8-year-old child, it has much to recommend it.

For about 3/4 cup

3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
4 ounces or 1 stick of butter

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, and seasonings in the blender jar.
Cut the butter into pieces and heat it to foaming hot in a small saucepan.
Cover the jar and blend the egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds. Uncover, and still blending at top speed, immediately start pouring on the
hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. (If you do not have a splatterproof blender jar, you may need to protect yourself with a towel during this operation.) By the time two thirds of the butter has gone in, the sauce
will be a thick cream. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter
pan. Taste the sauce, and blend in more seasonings if necessary.
If not used immediately, set the jar in tepid, but not warm, water.

For more sauce

The amount of butter you can use in a blender is only half the amount the
egg yolks could absorb if you were making the sauce by hand, when 3 egg yolks can take 8 to 9 ounces of butter rather than the 4 ounces in the preceding recipe. However, if you added more butter to the blender than
the 4 ounces specified, the sauce would become so thick that it would
clog the machine. To double your amount of sauce, the, pour it out of
the blender jar into a saucepan or bowl and beat into it an additional
1/2 cup of melted butter, added in a stream of droplets.

The most famous Hollandaise variation…

Sauce Béarnaise

Béarnaise sauce varies from hollandaise only is taste and strength; instead
of lemon juice, its basic flavoring is a reduction of wine, vinegar, shallots,
pepper and tarragon. The techniques for making the two sauces are similar.

For 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1 tablespoon minced shallots or green onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or
1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup  melted butter
2 tablespoons fresh minced tarragon or parsley

Boil the vinegar, wine, shallots or onions, herbs and seasonings in a small saucepan over moderate heat until the liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Let it cool.
Then proceed as though making a hollandaise. Beat the egg yolks until
thick. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat. Add 1 tablespoon of cold
butter and thicken the egg yolks over low heat. Beat in the other
tablespoon of cold butter, then the melted butter by droplets. Correct seasoning, and beat in the tarragon or parsley.
For a Sauce Choron
, simply beat 2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste or
tomato purée. by tablespoons,  into 1 1/2 cups Béarnaise and correct seasoning.


Sauce Maltaise (Orange-flavored Hollandaise)

For: asparagus or broccoli

This sauce is made like an ordinary hollandaise except
for the orange flavoring. Proceed as follows:

3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 to 2/3 cup melted butter
2 to 4 tablespoons orange juice
The grated peel [zest] of an orange

Beat the egg yolks until thickened, then beat in the liquids and salt. Add
1 tablespoon of cold butter, and thicken the mixture over low heat. Beat
in the other tablespoon of cold butter, then the melted butter.
Finish the sauce by beating in the orange juice by spoonfuls, then the
orange peel [zest].

Egg Safety Information

Julia's Classic Beurre Blanc
A Tribute to Julia Child
Happy 90th Birthday, Julia!
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