Sandy Patterson, who graduated from and teaches at L’Academie de Cuisine, includes this sauce in some of the classes she teaches at the recreational school. (Her husband, Brian Patterson, teaches lesser sauces in the professional program.) I’d say it was the Food of the Gods, but it’s too good. It’s the Devil’s Sauce. How else could something so good be so bad ? And I’m also pretty gosh darn proud of myself for being able to consistently make it. I had a few greasy, nasty, unemulsified disasters with some early attempts.
I know what you’re saying… this is a PASTRY blog, not a beurre blanc blog. But one must diversify in one’s gratuitous butter intake, and a little savory never hurt anyone. Except for this sauce, which makes creme anglaise look like diet food. Here’s how you make it: (I can’t reprint Sandy’s original recipe. First, I don’t know where it is. Secondly, it’s unethical to hand out someone else’s recipe without permission. Thirdly, I’ve made it so many times that I stopped needing her recipe years ago and have strayed from it a bit. But at heart, it’s still Sandy Patterson’s Citrus Beurre Blanc/Devil Sauce.)
Combine the strained juice from a variety of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.) in a non-reactive saucepan with a bunch of roughly chopped shallots (2 or 3 or so) and a sprig of thyme if you have some lurking around but it’s not a big deal if you don’t. Reduce until the citrus juices are somewhat syrupy and almost evaporated, and then throw in some heavy cream (a good splash) — and reduce again until thick. Then whisk in a lot of butter, one pat at a time. At least 1-1/2 sticks (10-12 oz.) or so. The more butter you whisk in, the richer, creamier, and more devil-like it becomes. Strain, season, serve.
You can’t keep this stuff for more than an hour or so. It breaks if you try to reheat it. And you can’t just throw away the leftovers, nor can you put it in a coffee cup and drink it like milk. Really, you CAN’T! I mean, you could, but you really shouldn’t. That’s the devil sauce in your head telling you that you can. Instead, look around for other stuff to nonchalantly dip in the leftover sauce so you can pretend like you are not actually eating a bucket of butter and cream. Some suggestions are:
the ends of bread that you were saving for the birds
leftover take-out dimsum
hard boiled eggs
Stella D’oro bread sticks
the rice cakes you bought for your diet
a big spoon
Thank you, Sandy!