We met a few years ago, when our husbands began studying together. She was my first ultra Orthodox friend. Many good things happened to both of us and then she told me about her struggle with diabetes.
Despite her young age of 22, she has Diabetes stage two. It is very hard to believe that such a thin girl is dealing with a dangerous illness that usually affects people much older. But Chani has not let the illness defeat her. She knows how to look after herself.
If she knew I was writing about her, she would certainly say I was exaggerating, that it isn’t exactly like that, but when you watch from the side, you can only wonder – the self discipline, the way she persists when others would have given up long ago. You see her independence, her faith and constant searching for the presence of God in every thing she does and in every situation.
She took her situation in stride and has turned it into a test of faith – and that is not easy. She has to prepare food for herself, as she cannot just grab something. She has to think and monitor everything she eats. The management is very complicated. At Pesach, at celebrations, weddings, on Shabbat, she has had to give up a lot.
She cannot have white flour, white rice and no carbohydrates like potatoes. I learned from her that sugar is not the only enemy of diabetics. There are times that carbohydrates are off bounds and even those hidden in some vegetables have to taken into account.
She told me that once, after making yet another Shabbat cake for her family, her husband asked her why doesn’t she make something that she can eat then the whole family will enjoy it more.
I decided that we had to do something, to write a special cookbook that will focus on baked goods because there is a real lack of recipes in this category – the sort that don’t use white flour, have no sugar and don’t have rely on margarine or butter. Here is one of the recipes from the book which is dedicated to my dear friend Chani.
Cheesecake with baked apricots
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 50 Minutes
For the Dough:
2 cups of whole-wheat flour
50 grams of butter
4 tbl of canola oil
3 tbl of water
pinch of salt
For the Filling:
500 grams (about a pound) of soft white cheese
1 C of yogurt
1 C of honey or artificial sweetener equal to 1 C of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tbl cornflour
3-4 ripe apricots
In a food processor blend the flour, the butter until crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the mixture turns into a ball of dough. Press into an 8 or 9’ baking pan and pierce the surface with a fork.
Put all the filling ingredients a bowl and blend with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Pour over the dough. Slice the apricots into strips and place on the cheese filling in a circular pattern.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for about an hour until the filling is firm.