Monday, May 20, 2013

Lighter Eggs Benedict?

One of my favorite indulgences is Eggs Benedict. I know, I know! It's loaded with fat and cholesterol. But it's so good! I usually reserve it for special brunches. And it's a hassle to make Hollandaise sauce, so I don't eat it often.

But wait! In a recent Stonyfield Farms newsletter, they mentioned a recipe for Hollandaise sauce that they lightened up by using Greek yogurt. Could it be true? Could I indulge without all the guilt?

So this past weekend, I put their recipe to the test. It's close, but unless you're particularly fond of the tart flavor of plain yogurt, it's not quite there. They used 1/8 teaspoon of hot sauce that I omitted because I'm not much of a hot sauce person. It's possible that the hot sauce took the slightly sour edge off.

I solved the problem by adding, gulp, 4 tablespoons of butter. Most recipes contain 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter. In spite of that, my mom suggested adding just a pinch of sugar to take off that edge.

I do have to say that it was the easiest Hollandaise sauce I've ever made. It cooked beautifully without curdling or seizing up.

We were tough on that sauce, trying it on a poached egg on toast. No ham or veggies to soften the blow. After all, if the sauce wasn't good, all we were left with was an egg on toast. Would I make it again? Yes! But with the 4 tablespoons of butter and a pinch of sugar.

To assemble your Eggs Benedict, use your favorite toasted bread or the traditional split English muffin on the bottom. Add Canadian bacon, or regular bacon, or (yum!) a crabcake. A slice of tomato or a leftover grilled veggie can be fabulous, too. Then add the poached egg and top with the sauce.

I read recently that while vinegar in the egg-poaching water makes the egg white seize together better, it also makes the egg white more tough. So this time I dared to do the unthinkable (the things I do for you), I poached them in plain water. Nothing else! They came out better than ever.

Lightened Up Hollandaise Sauce

3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon or Horseradish mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place all ingredients *except butter* in the top of a double boiler and whisk together. Bring the water underneath to a very slow boil. Cook, whisking constantly for 5-10 minutes until an instant thermometer reaches 145.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Keep warm, stirring occasionally, until ready to assemble the dish. Makes enough for 6-8 servings.

Toast or warm bread at this point.

Poached Eggs in Plain Water

Crack the eggs and place each one in a small heatproof bowl.

In a large pot, bring three inches of water to a very gentle boil.

Lower each little bowl about 1/2 inch into the water and turn to let the egg slip out. Repeat for each egg.

Cover the pot and cook (do not bother the eggs, no poking!) for 3 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted or pierced spoon.


Serve immediately.

(Note, 3 minutes is right for runny egg yolks, but they may not have reached a temperature high enough to kill salmonella or other bacteria.)


  1. wow, those eggs look professional! I will have to try this...

    1. I've also heard that fresher eggs poach better. Try eggs from your farmer's market, Lucy.


  2. (Echoing Lucy) Your eggs look absolutely perfect, Krista! I'm also a fan of Greek yogurt, and I love this lighter take on Hollandaise sauce. I'll bet this will be delicious on steamed broccoli or lightly sautéed asparagus spears. Thanks for sharing, and have a great week.

    1. I think you're right, Cleo. In fact, one of the side benefits that I realized today is that the leftover sauce doesn't get hard. In fact, it's a beautiful spreading consistency, sort of like a mustard-spiced mayonnaise. Delicious on a sandwich.


  3. Wow, Krista. I love Hollandaise sauce and had no idea it was hard to make. What fun to have a "lite" version. And yes, your eggs looks positively professional.

    Can't wait for your new DIVA FROSTS A CUPCAKE. Just a couple of weeks. Yum!

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Daryl, maybe it's just hard for *me* to make! If you get it the slightest bit too warm or add the butter too fast it curdles into horrible globs. I usually make it with a house full of friends milling around, so maybe I just don't pay enough attention, but I find it tricky.


  4. Great to have an alternative.
    I had some lovely eggs "Benedict" at a place in Maine. Instead of bacon, they used homemade corn beef (shreds of meat not diced). Nice.

    1. That's an interesting change. I can imagine that it was great!


  5. I'm a sucker for eggs Benedict, and I can't wait to try this - and no, Krista, you're not the only one who finds hollandaise tricky. In fact, so far, I've found it impossible. I am a very good cook, and nothing has ever been beyond my abilities - but for some reason, I have never yet successfully made hollandaise. I suspect I've made a different mistake every time. I will eventually master it, but I'm certainly going to try this version!