Hollandaise is one of my most favorite sauces ever, and it is ridiculously easy to make. Not only that, but I've found that homemade hollandaise tastes so much better than most restaurant versions. Go on, I dare you ... make this recipe and tell me it's not better than what you get at some Sunday buffet steam table.
I use a recipe given to me by my friend Jayme Wilmore. When making hollandaise sauce, make it last, after you've already cooked your egg dish, because hollandaise is something that needs to be served immediately once completed.
In a small saucepan, melt four tablespoons of butter. Do not let it brown. In a bowl, beat together four egg yolks, two tablespoons fresh lime juice, one tablespoon heavy cream, freshly ground pepper, and salt.
Next, you need to combine the eggs with the melted butter. This involves a simple kitchen technique that most people don't know about - tempering. If you add the eggs to the melted butter, the eggs will curdle, and you'll end up with a chunky, runny sauce when you want a smooth and creamy sauce. When you temper eggs, you warm them up slowly by adding a little bit of a hot liquid to them, and this keeps them from curdling. To temper the eggs, take a spoon and add a teaspoon of the melted butter to the egg mixture and beat with a wire whisk. Keep adding the melted butter to the egg mixture slowly until you've added about five tablespoons or so, whisking the entire time. Now you're ready to add the egg mixture to the saucepan. Turn the heat to low and cook the egg-butter mixture very quickly - only about ten to fifteen seconds or so - whisking vigorously. If your hollandaise isn't thick enough, cook it a little bit longer in five second increments, whisking vigorously, until it reaches the consistency you desire.
Now your sauce is ready to serve. Bon appétit!