Today is labour day here in Australia so I thought it was an excellent occasion to take my time and make a nice breakfast and Eggs Benedict seemed like a natural choice. Alas, that didn’t work as well as I planned. There are a lot of tricks and things to remember when you make hollandaise sauce and poach eggs and I unfortunately forgot many of them. So let my use this post to share the tricks with you!
for two servings
1 English muffin, or any good bread
2-4 slice of bacon or ham
2 poached eggs
I usually start by heating up or baking the bread. Next step is the hollandaise sauce. And then cook the bacon/ham as I poach my eggs.
How to make hollandaise sauce
1,5 egg yolk
2 tbsp of water
100 g butter
2-4 tbsp of lemon juice
salt and pepper
Start by setting up a bain-marie, a sort of heated bath. To do this you need to boil water in a pot and keep it at at the stable temperature, before boiling point. On top of that you put a second container, glass or stainless steel will do fine. No plastic of course because it will melt.
Note: use a big pot and clean the bowl well on the bottom so you can use the the pot and hot water for the next step.
First tip for the hollandaise sauce is to use a round and deep bowl for the sauce. While making a hollandaise sauce it is very important to constantly whip the sauce and do that well! So if you have a bowl with a flat bottom it will make it very difficult for you to whip it correctly.
As mentioned it is important to whip the sauce constantly, so tip number two is to prepare all the ingredients and containers in advance.
To make the hollandaise sauce you will need to start by whipping the water and egg yolks in the bain-marie. Before you start doing that, double check that you have the right temperature in the upper bowl. If you touch the bottom of the bowl with your finger it should be uncomfortably hot, not burning hot.
Once you have whipped the sauce for 2-3 minutes you should start having a lighter and ticker mix. That’s when you can add the butter. Add the butter a big spoon at a time and wait for the butter to be well incorporated before adding more butter.
The the last stage is to add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and it’s up to you how much you want of each.
How to poach eggs
When I make Eggs Benedict use the pot and the water previously used for the bain-marie because it’s supposed to be the same amount of water and at the same temperature.
The most important to achieve poached eggs is to use fresh eggs. My eggs had been laying in the fridge for over a week and I unfortunately failed my poached eggs because of this.
Second, you need to put 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar in the water. This will avoid the eggs to dilute in the water.
Third, the temperature of the water needs to be at the right and stable temperature. It can’t be at the boiling state, but the state just before that. If the water is boiling it’s push and drag your egg in every direction and you’re not going to have a nicely formed egg.
At last, I find the size of the pot and amount of water to be important. I find it helpful to make a turbine in the water with a spoon so when I drop the egg in the middle, the egg will hopefully stay in the middle and be shaped by the water flow of the turbine. So to achieve this a use a large pot and fill it only up to half with water.
The egg should stay in the water for 3-5 minutes. You know it’s ready when the egg white is firm and the egg yolk is still liquid.
So that’s the tricks that helps to poach an egg, now it’s up to you to try and fail until you got the technique in!
Assembling the master piece
This is the easy part. Use the bottom half of an English muffin or a slice of bread as the bottom layer. Then add the bacon/ham, poached egg and finally one or two spoons of hollandaise sauce on top.
Booh yah! Enjoy your breakfast!
Now that you know how to make eggs Benedict I advice you to go to wikipedia’s page for eggs Benedict and look at the variations that exist out there. I am definitely going to try the Eggs Atlantic – when you substitute the ham with salmon! That must be great with the acid hollandaise sauce… yum…