How to make hollandaise
1. This classic French sauce goes particularly well with vegetables, like fresh artichokes or new season's asparagus. The easiest and simplest way to make hollandaise is using a food processor or blender, because it is quicker and does away with the need to hand-whisk over hot water for 10 long minutes. It has to be said that a blender is best, but a processor works well, too. So first place 2 large egg yolks, a pinch of salt and some freshly milled black pepper in a blender or processor and then blend thoroughly for a minute until they become thickened
2. After that, in a small saucepan heat together 1 dessertspoon each of lemon juice and white wine vinegar until the mixture starts to bubble and simmer. Leave the pan on the heat and switch the processor on again, then pour the hot liquid on to the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. Then switch off.
3. Melt 4 oz (110 g) of unsalted butter in the same saucepan over a gentle heat, making sure it doesn't brown. Switch the processor on again, then go back to the butter, making sure that it's foaming and really hot. Take it to the processor and pour it on to the egg mixture in a thin, slow, steady trickle – the slower the better (if it helps, warm a jug with boiling water and pour the butter into that first).
4. When all the butter has been incorporated, wipe around the sides of the processor bowl or blender with a spatula to incorporate all the sauce and then give it one more quick burst – you should end up with a lovely, smooth, thick, buttery sauce. If the butter mixture is added too quickly, it won't emulsify and the sauce will split or curdle. However all is not lost because you can sometimes rescue it if you break another egg yolk into a clean blender, whisk it and then add the curdled mixture slowly, with the blender running. Whilst it is good to warn people about curdling and so on, I can promise you that if you follow these instructions to the letter, you shouldn't really have any problems. Just remember everything must be boiling and you must start pouring immediately and as slowly as you can manage.
5. My own problem has always been how to keep it warm, as I always like to make it in advance, and overheating will make it curdle as well. There are two possible answers for this: either use a wide-necked Thermos flask rinsed with boiling water or, to make a lighter, more stable version, make a Foaming Hollandaise. If you like you can make it the day before and store in the fridge, then re-heat it in a bowl over barely simmering water.
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