I got some fresh eggs and managed to make hollandaise sauce on my first try tonight and second try ever. And of course made Eggs Benedict with it. I can't decide if I poached the eggs just right or too little. They were pretty oozy but seemingly cooked.
The hollandaise wasn't quite up to my hopes. It wasn't bad--in fact it was yummy--but of course it didn't measure up to my memory of Sean's hollandaise or even my mom's. It came out thinner than I expected and not mind-smashingly rich. But again, it was quite yummy.
In retrospect I don't think I got the egg yolk cooked. I think it was an emulsion of slightly warm egg yolk and butter. But the first time I tried it I thought my failure was due to cooking the egg to coagulation, so I probably overcompensated. I also didn't clarify the butter. My intuition told me the milk solids shouldn't thin the sauce and should be okay, but after it didn't thicken I started wondering about that. Sure enough, I found a recipe online that says leaving the milk solids in thins the sauce.
I also didn't add water, which I now recall Sean adding. And the egg is the emulsifier...I guess the water was supposed to be the other part of the mixture. I have no idea what difference that would make, but I recall Sean's sauce as being very light, stiff almost like whipped cream and very flavorful. And mine wasn't so much. I think I slightly overdid it on the Cayenne, but I'm not sure. It wasn't a present taste at first, but the heat built slightly at the end after a few bites. Also, this is old butter that's been in the freezer a while. Again, I don't know if that makes a difference.
The boring details: I bought fresh eggs, canadian bacon and a lemon. The butter has been frozen for quite a while. I didn't start making Eggs Benedict per se, just hollaindaise with the plan of proceeding with the rest when I decided I succeeded. As a backup dinner I had some more vinaigrette from yesterday and some new tins of canned chicken breast. I started with one yolk thinking that would make enough sauce for a split muffin and two poached eggs. I turned the electric burner on and held the metal mixing bowl over it while whisking. I had read that the temperature should remain between 100 and 150, so I figured I would avoid getting it too hot to touch and gauge temperature by feeling the bottom of the bowl frequently, although I'm now pretty sure I was keeping it too cool. I cheated and mostly melted the butter in the microwave and dripped it very sparingly from a pour-spout measuring cup, whisking in each sequence of drips. When I was almost done I decided there wasn't enough sauce and added another yolk and melted some more butter. As far as I could tell the mixture was never in danger of breaking. When done I added salt, cayenne and a guestimated quarter of the lemon juice. I could tell the sauce was thinner than I expected but didn't know what to do about it. The taste was rich but not like my favorite hollandaise memories. I then started the rest of the eggs benedict and more or less accidentally had the muffins, poached eggs and canadian bacon ready at about the same time.
Yeah, I think I didn't cook the yolks in the hollaindaise. That and not clarifying the butter are probably my two biggest errors. If I don't overcook the yolks I think my next attempt will be much better.