Bearnaise is a derivative of hollandaise--in order to get good at making the former, try making the latter a few times in order to get your chops up. Fewer ingredients and without playing with the shallot white wine reduction, it takes less time, too.
Here is a tip--do not have your melted clarified butter too warm when you whip them into the egg yolks--this can break the sauce very quickly and you will end up with a greasy nasty mess. It curdles the yolks--partially cooks them. You should have your yolks and butter as close to the same temperature as possible when you start blending the two together. This is best done by cooling the melted butter slightly and warming the yolks a bit by putting them in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water. Make certain that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl, as it will start to cook the yolks. You don't want that--you just want them to be slightly warmed.
Taking your eggs out of the fridge early and putting them on the counter for a bit to come to a gradual room temperature seems to help , too.
The only way to get good at it is to keep doing it.
Also, once the sauce is made, serve it warm, and immediately. As it cools, it breaks.
The temperaray emulsion sauces based on egg yolk and butter are fragile--but delicious, and are well worth learning.
April 25, 2005 12:00 PM
Barbara, thanks for the tips! Actually, i meant Hollandaise sauce of course, not Bearnaise. And my own personal sure-fire trick which I picked up some time ago from Nigel Slater is to use small pieces of warm butter instead of melted butter. The butter melts slowly into the egg and emulsifies almost automatically.
I'm still a big fan of homemade Hollandaise sauce. They sell it in jars here, but it's nothing compared to the real stuff!
Meg in Paris |
April 25, 2005 3:24 PM
Sold in jars? Gah. It is likely stablized with modified food starch and whatnot else.
You are always welcome for the tip--I used to coach younger students in culinary school on the hollandaise, because I already could make it with my eyes shut when I got there.
Of all things, it was bechamel that buggered me up. ;-)
April 25, 2005 8:49 PM
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