Eggs Benedict, Charlesford-style!

I haven’t quite decided, but I think this year’s Father’s Day Brunch was probably my best attempt yet at making eggs benedict.

The day started off a bit frantically because I accidentally slept in and we were supposed to be at Mom & Dad’s for 11am, but otherwise, I think we had a really nice breakky with everyone on Sunday morning.

I have altogether given up any hope of being able to masterfully serve breakfast to six people all piping hot at the same time. I am not capable of pulling those sorts of rabbits out of my hat, as much as I try. It’s never gonna happen and I have no idea as to how one might actually go about doing that sort of thing anyhow. If you think about it, unless you’re a restaurant, it’s an impossible feat. But to be honest, I am okay with that.

In the end, breakfast was actually quite simple: Homemade eggs benedict, Charlesford-style, and some fresh berries.

I realize that not everybody in my family finds this tidbit of information as amazing as I do, but it still makes me incredibly proud: I made everything from scratch!

The English muffins surprised me — the single tablespoon of wildflower honey that I used in the recipe made the muffins so incredibly fragrant and gave them a lovely marbled effect when you fork-split them in half for toasting. It’s a shame that I don’t actually have a picture of the english muffins split & toasted, because it would be lovely to show you how intensely dark the honey swirls were throughout the muffin.

As to the hollandaise sauce, I think I have finally found the recipe that my whole family enjoyed. It wasn’t too lemony and was perfectly seasoned, not to mention an absolutely stunning yellow as the picture above can attest from using my farm fresh eggs for the sauce.

I can’t remember which recipe I’ve used in the past for hollandaise, so what I ended up using was actually the recipe from the Culinary Institute of America(!)’s website. I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to use their recipes in the past, but it certainly did work and it was really nice being able to have their Youtube videos to watch for reference. I think I had stumbled upon the videos originally because I was thinking that one day I might like to try making my own english muffins — not sourdough, just plain, and the CIA videos were suggested.

The original compilation of videos is actually a three part series Mother’s Day brunch where they showed you how to make eggs benedict from scratch, start to finish — english muffins, hollandaise sauce & poaching eggs.

Since I had already found my own english muffin recipe that I am pretty pleased with, though I do think I would like to try making them again, since they didn’t quite have the proper nooks & crannies that I am used to in a store-bought muffin, I only needed the recipe for the hollandaise sauce. Like I said, I’m surprised, but my entire family enjoyed the hollandaise as is, so I guess this will officially be my go-to-recipe.

As a side note, I made the full recipe of sauce and there is a lot of sauce to be had, lemme tell you. Usually what I will do is I will halve a the recipe because my family just doesn’t eat sauce, of any kind, in copious amounts — and especially hollandaise, with its never ending amounts of butter. Since I woke up late, and I had to be at Mom & Dad’s for 11am, I just made the whole recipe as it was and I am glad I did. I really don’t think that the CIA recipe would be easy to halve without some dire consequences. The numbers are just too weird, so just close your eyes and enjoy the taste sensation of homemade hollandaise, knowing that this is not an every weekend occurance.

Culinary Institute of America’s Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
1/4 cup water, or as needed
4 large fresh egg yolks
1 1/2 cups melted whole butter, unsalted
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or as needed
2 teaspoons salt, or as needed
Pinch ground white pepper
Pinch cayenne (optional)

Combine the peppercorns and vinegar in a small pan and reduce over medium heat until nearly dry, about 5 minutes.
Add the water to the vinegar reduction. Strain this liquid into a stainless steel bowl.
Add the egg yolks to the vinegar reduction and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Whisking constantly, cook the egg yolk/vinegar mixture until the yolks triple in volume and fall in ribbons from the whisk. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and place it on a clean kitchen towel to keep the bowl from slipping.
Gradually ladle the warm butter into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
If the sauce becomes too thick and the butter is not blending in easily, add a little water to thin the egg mixture enough to whisk in the remaining butter.
Season the Hollandaise with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne if desired.
Serve immediately or keep the sauce warm in a bowl over simmering water.

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