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5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup water
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoons slices
2 tablespoons, or to taste, strained fresh lemon juice
Pinch of white pepper or ground hot red pepper, optional
|Whisk the egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and water together in a small, very thick saucepan
(or do this in the top of a double boiler).
|Whisking constantly, heat the mixture over very low heat (or over, not in simmering water in the
double-boiler base) until the mixture beings to feel quite warm to a probing fingertip the temperature
will be about 125° on an instant-reading thermometer.
|Continuing to whisk, add butter one slice at a time, blending in most of each before adding the next.
When all the butter has been added, remove the sauce from the heat at once and stir in the lemon juice and
pepper. Taste and add more lemon, salt, or pepper if needed. Strain the sauce, if you want absolutely
|The sauce will be warm enough to serve for up to 15 minutes; to hold it longer, set it over hot tap
water (no more than 140°). If it's to be served hours later, let it cool, then re-warm it (below). The
sauce may be refrigerated for three days or more.
|Re-warming: Set the container of sauce in a bowl of hot tap water (no more than 140°); whisk it
occasionally until it is warm, replacing the hot water as necessary.