Rich, creamy, decadent hollandaise sauce is simply irresistible. Hollandaise seems to brighten every dish it touches. It’s the perfect topping for eggs Benedict, poached eggs, and other brunch dishes. It’s lovely on salmon, artichokes, asparagus, and other poached vegetables. The trouble is, it can be tricky to make a proper hollandaise. Emulsified sauces take a certain touch (and a lot of upper arm strength) to get right. This hollandaise recipe, made in the blender using Julia Child’s classic technique, is as close to easy as it gets.
A few years ago, I bought myself a birthday present: Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Julia wrote the book together with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. There’s a terrific little recipe in Volume 1, a simple method for creating hollandaise sauce.
Emulsified sauces like hollandaise can be finicky. To emulsify means to combine two liquids that can’t normally be mixed together (like oil and lemon juice). For the liquids to combine, you need the proper technique. Hollandaise is no exception. It takes a lot of elbow grease and a skilled touch to create a proper hollandaise. Separation can easily occur, making the sauce a flop. Luckily, Julia and friends have given us a much easier method for making hollandaise using an electric blender.
I’ve shared Julia’s original recipe below, with my own notes and adaptations marked. The method is very simple. As she notes, “the technique is well within the capabilities of an 8-year-old child.” I love Julia’s recipe, but I do make a few minor adjustments. I use cayenne pepper (instead of black or white pepper). Cayenne is spicy and adds a nice little kick to the sauce. I also use more fresh lemon juice because I like a nice, bright, lemony flavor. Feel free to adjust to your own tastes.
Note: this sauce is made using raw egg yolks, which should only be consumed by certain individuals. See detailed note below.
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- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pinch pepper (I use a small pinch of cayenne)
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I use closer to 2 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- This sauce should be prepared immediately before serving-- it will only take you about 3 minutes to make. Place eggs yolks, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp lemon juice in the blender jar. You can beat in more lemon juice to taste when your sauce is done, and then you will know which proportion you prefer for next time.
- Cut the butter into pieces and place it in a small saucepan. Heat it till it's melted, hot and foamy.
- Cover the jar of the blender and blend the egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds. Uncover, still blending at top speed, and immediately start pouring the hot melted butter in a thin stream of droplets. (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 pan. Taste the sauce, and blend in more seasonings and lemon juice to taste.
- If not used immediately, set the blender jar in tepid (lukewarm), but not warm, water. Use the sauce within a few minutes of blending; it will solidify if not used quickly.
- Use hollandaise to top any number of delicious dishes. I like using it to top my Nova Lox Benedict - opens in a new windowclick here for recipe.