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In the top of a double boiler, combine egg yolks, lemon juice and water. Add a piece of the butter. Place over gently boiling water (upper pan should not touch water). Cook, stirring rapidly with a whisk, until butter melts and sauce begins to thicken. (Sauce may appear to curdle at this point but will smooth out when remaining butter is added).
Add the remaining butter, a piece at a time, stirring constantly until melted. Continue to cook and stir for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more or until sauce thickens. Immediately remove from heat. If sauce is too thick or curdles, immediately whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with cooked vegetables, poultry, fish or eggs.