Another piece of The Monster is complete! The Hogwart’s Crest is finally finished, and the project as a whole seems much more manageable. Do all crocheters dread the finishing work as much as I do? I believe weaving in the ends of a piece is the bane of crocheters around the world. There are probably as many weaving techniques as there are crochet stitches, but I find the easiest is to just go at it with your tapestry needle. This piece in particular was difficult with weaving in the ends because there is so much black in the pattern, and mostly because of the metallic yarn. Recently, I’ve begun saving the snipped off ends to use as stuffing for Amigurumi. I’ve never tried this technique before, but thought if it doesn’t look good I would have thrown the ends out anyways.
Has anyone had success stuffing Amigurumi with leftover ends?
Oops! I found this little guy while weaving in the ends. Looks like I didn’t catch this bit of carried over yarn. I was able to hide it with a long piece of yarn that I weaved through this section.
My reward for finishing the Hogwart’s Crest . . . Cheesecake. This is my go to recipe for Classic New York Style Cheesecake, and I’m constantly asked to make it for special occasions. The cheesecake is great by itself, or with fresh berries. It’s also a blank canvas for variations, and I like to play with adding chocolate, nuts, caramel, candy or fruit. Anything you like can be added to this recipe, go nuts!
- This cheesecake is baked in a water bath, and this is for two reasons. One the water bath helps ensure even baking of the cheesecake. Two baking in the water bath will prevent the cheesecake from browning. So you will need to decide how important it is that your cheesecake have a pretty white appearance. Since the waterproof springform pan doesn’t exist this means you must wrap the pan with tin foil. I suggest extra wide heavy duty foil.
- My super secret weapon to get the crumb crust evenly distributed in the pan, and pushed all the way into the corners of the pan is an aerosol can with the lid on, covered with plastic wrap.
- When adding the eggs it is imperative to scrape the bowl of your mixer well after each addition. No sissy scraping. If there are any unmixed little bits of cream cheese that have not been fully incorporated, then there will be lumps in the final cheesecake.
- Knowing when the cheesecake is done comes from a little bit of experience. When the pan is gently shaken the cheesecake should give you a firm jiggle. It should be similar to pudding. You can check the internal temperature of the cheesecake, but if appearances are important to you and you don’t plan to cover the cheesecake with chocolate ganache or some other topping there will be a hole left in the cheesecake from the thermometer.
Classic New York Style Cheesecake
For the Cheesecake:
5 – 8oz Packages Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 Tb Fresh Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tb AP Flour
For the Crust:
9 Whole Graham Crackers (5 oz)
5 Tb Butter, Chilled
3 Tb Granulated Sugar
1 Tb Butter, Melted
9-Inch Springform Pan
Extra Wide Heavy Duty Tin Foil
Roasting Pan, for Water Bath
Make the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the springform pan with three layers of extra wide heavy duty tin foil. Taking care to get the tin foil as high up the sides of the pan as possible.
Grind the graham crackers to coarse crumbs in a food processor. Add the chilled butter and sugar. Process until the crumb mixture is well blended. Add a few drops of the melted butter until the mixture just sticks together.
Press the crumb mixture into the prepped springform pan with my super secret weapon. An aerosol can with the lid on, wrapped with plastic wrap. Push the crumb evenly into the pan, and up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 mins. Cool the crust completely.
Make the Cheesecake Filling:
Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually, add the sugar, and beat until well blended. Add the flour, and mix. Add the eggs, and the egg yolk one at a time. Beat well, and scrape the bowl after each addition. No sissy scraping. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt.
Place the cooled crust in a large roasting pan. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Place the roasting pan on the middle oven rack. Carefully, add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake in the water bath until the center shows a firm jiggle, or the internal temperature reads 155 degrees F. About 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven taking care not to spill any water into the cheesecake.
Remove the springform pan from the water bath and transfer it to a wire rack. Cool the cheesecake completely at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days prior to slicing.
A word on slicing the cheesecake.
Who has ever sliced a cheesecake, only to end up with more cheesecake on the knife than on the plates? Well, now you can skip risking slicing off your tongue when you’re licking all that cheesecake off your knife. Start with your chilled cheesecake, a tall glass or pitcher of very hot water, a warm wet towel, and a dry towel. Dip your knife in the hot water and wipe it dry. Make your first slice through the cheesecake, then dip the knife in the hot water, wipe it clean with the warm wet towel, then wipe it dry with the dry towel. Continue this process for as many slices of cheesecake that you need. Slice, dip, wipe clean, and wipe dry. Now, you have beautiful slices of your perfect cheesecake with no waste! Enjoy!