Hollandaise is something that takes practice, and even then it can go wrong. The first one can turn out brilliant, and you can get complacent and think you are the bees knees of sauce makers, and then the next time it doesn't thicken or it curdles. Don't get disheartened. It happens to the best sous chefs. Make sure that as a home cook, your dish does not rely solely on your sauce and you can recover!
Ingredients 50g (4oz) butter 2 egg yolks 1 tablespoon of lemon juice Splash of cayenne pepper or hot paprika (optional) Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1. Put a few inches of cold water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Put a heatproof bowl on top that fits so that the bowl is not touching the water.
2. Put half the butter into the bowl on top. Add the egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisk until the butter is melted. Add the rest of the butter and keep whisking, making sure that the water underneath is not boiling as it will curdle the eggs.
3. When the sauce has thickened, add the cayenne or hot paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Cooks Note If the sauce curdles, take the bowl off the heat and place the bottom of the bowl in cold water, then whisk the sauce until it comes together. Or you can take it off the heat and add some single cream, drop by drop, whisking until it is smooth.
The reason that you use white pepper instead of black pepper is so you don't spoil the look of the sauce.