That thick yellow sauce poured over eggs benedict – that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Hollandaise. Although meaning Holland-style or from Holland, it roots are actually French, specifically originating from a small town in Normandy called Isigny-sur-Mer, which was famous for its creamy butter. However during World War I, butter production ceased in France, and butter was imported from Holland instead. Hence from its original name Sauce Isigny, it was rechristened Hollandaise sauce. Today it remains one of the five Mother sauces in haute French cuisine (the other sauces being bechamel, veloute, espagnole and tomato sauce), and is a traditional topper for eggs benedict, asparagus, or fish.
History lesson over; what’s actually goes into this artery-clogging pale mustard custard-like sauce that so many people seem to lap up with gusto? Egg yolks. Butter. (And a touch of lemon juice and/or vinegar). Doubly unvegan. I was never really taken to eggs benny or hollandaise because of the richness, but a lightened up vegan Hollandaise served over tofu patties sounds much more palatable and appealing!
Today I cheat again by not posting an original recipe, but sharing three vegan Hollandaise I curated from over the web, made using different bases: tofu, cashew or cornstarch. Although I have not tried them out, I expect that using a cashew base would give a fuller body and heavier texture while the tofu one would be milder and lighter. Happy Holland-azing! (Pictures are taken from the respective blogs’ website).
Tofu-based Hollandaise sauce from Chez Bettay (served with smoky bacon tempeh) – has quite a lengthy list of ingredients, including soy creamer and vegan butter.
Cashew-based Hollandaise sauce from Keepin’ It Kind (served with chickpea patties) – the simplest of all three, made with just cashews, nutritional yeast, mustard and seasonings.
Cornstarch-based Hollandaise sauce from Cookbook Aficionado (served with tofu patties) – for the lazy ones who don’t want to dirty the blender or food processor!
This is made with cashews and non-dairy (almond) milk as the body, seasoned with nutritional yeast and miso for the cheesy taste, and set with agar. I poured the mixture into a mini springform pan to set and it was ready after a few hours in the fridge. It came out weird, like a child born of a cheese father and a jelly mother. A more succinct description would be a savoury cheese jelly. Apart from the strange texture, the miso taste came out too strong rather then blend into the background. Overall I would classify it as a kitchen failure, and the bulk of the cheese is now languishing in the fridge. It may or may not have gone bad already.
I kept to the original recipe, except omitting the garlic and onion powder as I didn’t have them. Although it was a failure, here’s the recipe in case you’re interested.
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons raw cashews
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1¾ cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 8 teaspoons agar powder
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons yellow or white miso (I used white)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Grind cashews in a food processor (do not allow the cashews to turn into a paste). Add the nutritional yeast and salt. Pulse a few more times to blend in the spices.
- Combine the milk, agar, and oil in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the agar is dissolved. With the food processor running, gradually pour the milk mixture through the feed tube and into the cashew mixture. Blend until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. Then blend in the miso and lemon juice.
- Transfer the cheese to a container (ramekin or springform pan). Cover and refrigerate until it is very firm, about 4 hours.
- Once firm, unmold from the container. Grate or slice the cheese as desired.
For now I’ll stick to the basic liquid nutritional yeast sauce for any cheese needs!