Tricks of the Trade

Daisy and Mrs. Patmore prepping food at Downton Abbey
Dear Daisy and Mrs. Patmore, are you ready to learn some tricks from the hotel world?

One of this episode’s near-disasters lightens the mood a bit downstairs. And, it’s taught your friendly blog editor not to fear making hollandaise, thanks to research by Tara Austen Weaver:

Alfred may be the first footman to have won a kitchen maid's favor with an egg, but he’s not the first person to use one to fix a broken hollandaise sauce.

The sauce, a simple emulsion between egg yolk and butter with lemon, is said to have been invented in the Netherlands, thus the name. It’s made by whisking eggs on top of a double boiler, slowly adding melted butter so it turns creamy.

When Alfred moves the pot onto the stove, the heat breaks the emulsion; this curdles the sauce and Daisy goes ballistic. That’s when he steps up with the egg. Anyone who has spent time in a hotel kitchen, as Alfred has, might have learned that adding a bit more yolk would renew the emulsion and result in a newly smooth sauce. He causes the problem, then solves it so Ivy can take the credit and Daisy will hopefully lay off. Very clever, Alfred. You’re setting yourself up to be a prince among footmen.

Julia Child's HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

The sauce isn’t complex, but it is a bit tricky with whisking and temperature. That said, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, which is likely the bible Mrs. Patmore relied on (and is being used by the TV crew on Downton), makes it all sound a breeze.

"Put all the ingredients, except the lemon-juice, into a stew-pan; set it over the fire, and keep continually stirring. When it is sufficiently thick, take it off, as it should not boil..."

Yes, don’t let it boil, unless you have a footman nearby to save the day.

proper eggs

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
01/28/13

Love the little kitchen tips thrown into the mix. But did you see the size of them apples Mrs. Patmore has! Wow, wonder what variety they are?

01/28/13

the apples are possibly Bramleys, a common varietal grown in the UK and a good cooking apple.

01/28/13

Thanks for this post! I was so caught up in the drama that I didn't even catch it WAS hollandaise sauce. :)

Alfred is definitely related to O'Brien. I hope he doesn't eventually use his trixsy talents to start playing pranks like she does. Or maybe I do ...

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
  • KCTS9.org reserves the right to remove posts, at our discretion, which include inflammatory comments, comments that are off-topic, personal attacks or obscene language, or that are otherwise deemed objectionable.
  • By submitting your comment for publication on KCTS9.org, you agree to abide by our terms of service: http://kcts9.org/terms-conditions