Hollandaise is the ‘mother’ of all French sauces. I found this recipe in an old classic French cookbook (which I stupidly threw away and kick myself everytime I think about it, kicking myself now) but I know it off by heart. It’s made from a sabayon base of egg yolks, white wine vinegar and water. Then the addition of melted butter turns it into a rich and decadent  sauce flavoured with lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It’s gorgeous poured over steak, fish, vegetables or perfectly poached eggs on the breakfast of all breakfasts, eggs benedict (I also like to pour it over corn fritters).


  • 225 grams butter
  • 4 large eggs (I use size 7’s and you’ll only be using the yolks)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium sized lemon (you need 2 tablespoons of juice from it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper


1.So first find a medium sized heatproof bowl and a saucepan that the bowl sits snuggly into.

2.Remove the bowl and 1/3 fill the saucepan with water and then sit the bowl back on top. Remove the bowl and check that the bottom isn’t wet underneath. If it is wet remove a little bit of water until it is sitting above the water in the pan and not in it. Then leave the water in the pan and place the bowl on the bench.

3.Into the bowl add the yolks, the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of cold water and whisk it all together until the egg whites are broken up and the mix is frothy, set aside.

4.Place the butter in a small saucepan and over a low heat leave it to melt. Then turn off the heat and set it aside to cool down.

5.Over a high heat, bring the water in the saucepan to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium low or low, to where the water is barely simmering (softly boiling). Then place the bowl with the eggs in it back on top of the saucepan.

6.Slowly and continuously whisk it until the sabayon has thickened, making sure you whisk around the sides also. It should be done between 3-5 minutes and look like softly whipped cream.

7.Once it’s thickened turn off the heat and remove the bowl from over the pan and place it on the bench on a damp folded over tea towel.

8.Whilst vigorously whisking, slowly pour in the warm butter in a constant thin stream until all the butter has been added.

9.Still using the whisk, gently fold through the lemon juice, salt and the cayenne pepper.

10.Pour over fish, vegetables steak or your perfectly poached eggs.

11.If you like, garnish with chopped chives and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

12.Keep on the stovetop covered in aluminium foil, away from direct heat and serve whilst still warm.

For a more detailed walkthrough visit my blog – http://www.taniaskitchen.co.nz/hollandaise-sauce/