Hollandaise Sauce

There is a recipe for a sauce that is at the base of most of the hot emulsion sauce. It goes in the composition of a wide range of "hot mayonnaise" type of sauce, such as the mousseline sauce, sauce paloise, etc.
Recipe for 1/4 of a litre of finished sauce:
  • 4+3 tablespoon water.
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar.
  • a pinch of cracked pepper.
  • 5 egg yolk.
  • 500g good butter.
  • 1/2 lemon juice.
  • salt and pepper.


Clarify the butter and set aside in a warm place.

In a thick bottom pot, reduce the vinegar, a pinch of salt, the cracked pepper and four tablespoons of water. Take the pot of the heat, pour a tablespoon of water, then put the egg yolks and start whisking.

When the egg yolks have started to foam and doubled in volume, place the pot on a very low heat and keep whisking until the mixture has thickened. You should be able to draw a line into the egg yolk foam and see the bottom of the pot for few seconds.

Then, off the heat, start to slowly, incorporate the butter like you would do for a mayonnaise. Add in 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm water as you go to give a lovely, light consistency to the sauce. At this point, make sure that the egg foam and the butter are at the same temperature.

When all the butter has been added in, strain the sauce and rectify the seasoning and add the lemon juice.

Keep the hollandaise sauce in a bain-marie until it is needed.

If it happens that the sauce over-heat, take your pot off the heat, add a tablespoon of cold water and stir energetically until all the butter has been fully incorporated. Then, continue stirring in the clarified butter.

Now, if the eggs have cooked (scrambled), there is nothing that can be done to salvage it. The whole procedure has to be started from scratch.

Some chefs, would reduce a 1/4 litre of double cream, prior to adding the eggs. Then follow the recipe has described above.

“Food is all those substances which, submitted to the action of the stomach, can be assimilated or changed into life by digestion, and can thus repair the losses which the human body suffers through the act of living.”
Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), The Physiology of Taste (1825)

Suitable for coeliacs, vegetarians, pregnant women.