FOR JULIA AND JACQUES' EGGS BENEDICT:
For the hollandaise sauce
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or more, if needed
6 to 8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
Freshly ground white pepper
For Jacques’ poached eggs:
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar per 2 quarts water
4 large eggs, the fresher the better
For the eggs benedict:
4 slices of brioche or home-style white bread, cut into 4-inch rounds, or English-muffin halves
4 thin slices boiled ham or prosciutto
Thin slices of black truffle (optional)
4 warm poached eggs
1 cup Hollandaise Sauce
Make the hollandaise sauce
1. Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come).
2. Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue.) As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.
3. By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.
4. Season lightly with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.
Poach the eggs
1. Fill the pan with water to a depth of 2 inches or so, add the vinegar, and bring to a slow boil.
2. Rapidly crack and open each egg into the water, holding the shell as close to the surface as possible. The eggs will cool the water; adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer. After a few moments, when the whites have just begun to set, drag the back of the slotted spoon gently across the top of the eggs, to move them off the pan bottom so they don’t stick. Cook the eggs for about 4 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.
3. To test for doneness, lift 1 egg from the water with the slotted spoon and press both white and yolk. The whites should feel fully set but not too firm, and the yolks very soft. Poach longer for firmer eggs.
4. When set the way you like them, remove the eggs from the saucepan with the slotted spoon or strainer and immerse them in a bowl of warm tap water to wash off the vinegar. Set the spoon on a clean towel (or folded paper towels) for a moment to remove excess water, and serve eggs immediately.
Assemble the eggs benedict
1. Just before serving, toast the bread circles or muffins lightly, butter both sides, and warm the ham and the optional truffle slices in a frying pan with a tablespoon of butter.
2. Center a toast round on each warm serving plate; cover with a slice of ham and then a poached egg. Spoon hollandaise sauce generously over each egg and top with an optional warm truffle slice. Serve immediately
FOR ALTON BROWN'S EGG BENEDICT:
Yeast Based Eggs Benedict Foundation Platform (English Muffin), recipe follows
Poached Eggs, recipe follows
Hollandaise Sauce, recipe follows
8 slices Canadian bacon, julienned
Yeast Based Eggs Benedict Foundation Platform:
12 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2 ounces nonfat dry milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
10 ounces water
1 tbsp shortening
8 teaspoons rolled quick oats
Special Equipment: 8 (3 3/4-inch diameter by 2-inch tall) cans with tops and bottoms removed or 8 English muffin rings
1. Combine the flour, nonfat dry milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for 10 seconds using the paddle attachment.
2. Put the water and shortening in microwavable container and heat to 120 to 130 degrees F, approximately 2 minutes. Stir until the shortening is thoroughly melted. Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until well combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl halfway through mixing, about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, uncover and mix on medium speed, using the paddle attachment, for 3 minutes.
4. Position the 8 cans on a half sheet pan and generously spray the rings and pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of oats in the bottom of each ring. Scoop the dough, with a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or disher, into the rings, dividing the dough evenly between the rings. Sprinkle each top with 1/2 teaspoon of oats. Cover with parchment and let sit in a warm place for 60 minutes.
5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Leave the parchment in place and set a second sheet pan on top. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the top half sheet pan. Continue to bake until the muffins reach an internal temperature of 210 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, and are lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.
7. Remove the pan with the muffins still in the rings, to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the perimeter of the ring to loosen. Cool completely before splitting with a fork. To serve, toast under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes.
4 quarts water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
8 large eggs
1. Put 4 (6-ounce) custard cups in a 6-quart deep, straight-sided saute pan or rondeau. Add 4 quarts of water or enough to cover the cups by at least 1/4-inch. Add the vinegar and salt to the water and put the pan over high heat. Heat just until the water begins to boil and the cups clatter against the bottom of the pan, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Adjust the heat to maintain a water temperature of 205 degrees F outside the cups. Break the eggs, 1 at a time, into another custard cup or ladle. Pour the eggs slowly into each of the cups, timing them about 10 seconds apart. Cook for 5 minutes each.
3. Serve immediately or remove eggs from cups and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Refrigerate for up to 6 hours in the ice bath.
4. To reheat, bring water to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the eggs. Wait 1 to 2 minutes or until warmed through.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
3 large egg yolks
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne, divided
3 to 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice strained, divided
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
1/4 tsp sugar
1. Whisk together the egg yolks, water, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne in a 2 quart saucier for 1 minute.
2. Put the saucier over low heat and whisk vigorously, moving the pan on and off the heat every 10 to 15 seconds, bringing the mixture to 140 to 145 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 3 minutes. Add 1 piece of butter at a time, every 30 seconds, while continually whisking and moving the saucier on and off the heat. Maintain temperature around 120 to 130 degrees F throughout the remainder of the cooking process. Once half of the butter, or 8 pieces, have been added, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the remaining 8 pieces of butter, 1 at a time, every 30 seconds, while continuing to move the saucier on and off the heat and maintaining 120 to 130 degrees F. After the last piece of butter has been added, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and the sugar and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Taste and add more lemon juice, as desired. Move immediately to a short, wide-mouthed thermos to hold for up to 2 hours. Reheat over low heat for 45 seconds.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes
To build Eggs Benedict:
1. Put the julienned Canadian bacon in 10-inch saute pan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through and beginning to turn lightly brown around the edges, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the bacon in the pan to keep warm until serving.
2. For each serving, put 2 small dollops of hollandaise on a plate and set 1/2 an English muffin on top of each dollop. Put a small amount of Canadian bacon on top of each half and top with 1 warm poached egg and drizzle with hollandaise. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.