Christmas Eve supper is light at our house for reasons having to do with a rather high level of excitement on the part of some, and limited remaining energy for the kitchen on the part of one -- me.
But a festive dessert is a must, and Apple Spice Ring can be made days ahead, so Apple Spice Ring it is, with a topping as delectable as it is low in fat:
APPLE SPICE RING (Makes one tube pan cake or one 8-by-8-inch loaf or two 4-by-8-inch loaves)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 cups grated apple, peeled and cored first
2 cups raisins
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup and 2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Pour boiling water over apples and raisins. Top with oil and let stand 10 minutes. Add honey and spices (including salt); allow to cool.
Sift together the flour and baking soda, add walnuts, and combine with the other ingredients. Pour into well-greased tube pan or loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
YOGURT CHEESE TOPPING (Makes about 2 cups, enough for 6 to 8 servings)
1 quart lowfat yogurt
1/4 cup honey
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
To make yogurt cheese: line a colander or strainer with a large cloth napkin. Turn yogurt into it and let drain until the cheese is as stiff as you want, anywhere from 6 to 24 hours. You can hang it over a sink by tying the napkin closed and fastening it to the faucet, but outside the refrigerator the cheese will become very tart. You may also suspend it over a bowl in the refrigerator.
Stir in honey, lemon zest and, if desired, Grand Marnier -- but gently. No matter how stiff it is, yogurt cheese becomes liquid when it is beaten hard.