Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 48

Ok, I may be a smidge addicted to Masterchef, but looking at the bright side, it give me plenty of fodder for Self Improvement!

So last night was all about making Eggs Benedict and the all-important hollandaise sauce.  I have too much sloppiness in me to tackle cooking that requires recipes.  As we speak I can smell my Slow Cooker dinner, and it smells like it really needed that cinnamon stick that I substituted with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.  The only baking I do is at the local bakery who do a mean and very home made looking'ish banana bread, it only takes a few roughish angled slices to get that authentic, just-whipped-this-up look!

Hollandaise is just not on my list of things I must attempt to cook in my life time - too fraught with risk of disaster.  And sure enough, last night, as if made for TV drama, one of the contestants Hollandaise sauce split.

Which makes me ask "what makes a hollandaise sauce split (and how can you salvage it?) 

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and butter, usually seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and a little pepper. In appearance it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy. The flavor is rich and buttery, with a mild tang.  Although the sauce has few ingredients, it does have a reputation of being very difficult to make. This is because the traditional method involves whisking the lemon juice into the beaten egg yolks, whilst cooking gently over simmering water. The temperature of the water here is everything, because if there is too much heat, the eggs will scramble and separate. The second thing to watch out for is the process of adding the butter.  Egg yolks can only cope with absorbing a certain amount of butter overall, so if too much butter is added, the sauce will eventually curdle.

If the sauce begins to curdle or separate, remove the bowl from the pan immediately, add an ice cube and quickly place the base of the bowl in cold water to halt the cooking process. Continue to whisk to help cool the sauce and bring it back together. If this doesn't work, place 1 tsp fresh lemon juice in a medium heatproof bowl and add 1 tbs of the curdled sauce. Whisk until the mixture combines and thickens and the emulsion is reformed, then whisk in the remaining sauce a little at a time, whisking well after each addition.

There you go, eggs bene!  Delish!

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