Serious Eats

Mixed Review: Knorr's Hollandaise Mix

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[Photographs: Lucy Baker]

20100319-hollandaise3.jpgWhen you're out to brunch, ordering poached eggs is a gamble. Too often they arrive at the table either overcooked, with yolks like yellow ping pong balls; or undercooked, with clear, gelatinous whites. Yuck.

Since eggs Florentine is my absolute favorite way to start a Sunday morning, I decided to recreate the classic restaurant dish at home. My one stipulation? The procedure had to be as easy as possible. After all, I would be cooking before I had my coffee.

Enter Knorr's hollandaise mix ($1.99). Making hollandaise from scratch is tricky business. You have to carefully blend egg yolks, cream, butter, and lemon juice over a double boiler until the mixture is thick and smooth. If the sauce boils, it's all over—hollandaise curdles in a heartbeat.

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In contrast, the Knorr's mix is like child's play. Simply dump the mix into a small saucepan, add 1 cup of milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, and simmer for a minute or two until thickened. (To make things even more effortless, I used my handy poach pods to prepare the eggs. For instructions on perfect poaching, check out this post.)

While the instructions called for merely stirring the mix as it cooks, I would highly recommend whisking it. I found it to be rather lumpy, and as it thickened it clung to the bottom and sides of the pan.

How did it taste? Not half bad, but not exactly like real hollandaise, either. The sauce was extremely thick, about the consistency of Ranch dressing. Instead of running down the sides of the eggs, through the spinach, and into the English muffin, it sort of glopped on top.

That said, it was pleasingly creamy, not too salty, and had rich, real butter flavor. Oddly, while I couldn't taste any lemon, I did detect a bit of cheese, almost as if the sauce was meant for macaroni.

In the end, I would recommend the Knorr's mix with some reservations. Certainly any Francophile would turn their nose up at the crude approximation of hollandaise, and this is not a dish I would prepare for company or a special occasion. But sitting on my couch in my pajamas with the paper, I wasn't complaining.

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