Jerri started teaching piano when she was in high school and still has three adult students. One of the advantages of being a piano teacher is that you get some wonderful gifts from your students. Our Christmas tree means more to us because we know the history of so many of the ornaments given to her by eager hands, even by students who were sometimes a challenge. For instance:
Student: “I hate piano. And you’re not my favorite teacher.”
Jerri: “Do you think you’re my favorite student?”
Jerri: “You got that right. Now play it again.”
That little exchange cleared the air, and the young man went on to learn how to make music on the family piano.
And I’m sure that he brought a gift each Christmas to his piano teacher.
Besides ornaments, gifts included candles, soaps, handmade shirts and aprons, trivets, napkins, table decorations and…FOOD. Mothers and grandmothers shared their family holiday treats and sometimes even shared the recipes with us. Here is one of those recipes.
We got to enjoy Carol’s lemon bread for several holidays until her youngest child finished lessons. Jerri asked for the recipe so we could continue the tradition of eating this moist, rich cake-like bread without having to call and beg for it.
Carol’s recipe includes a note that it makes one large or two small loaves, but Jerri makes four mini-loaves from one batch. They make wonderful Christmas gifts.
6 T butter
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
One medium to large lemon
Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease and flour your loaf pan or pans. Wash the lemon and use a grater or zester to remove the zest (the bright yellow outer layer of the rind) from it.
Cream the butter and one cup of sugar together in a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, then the milk and lemon zest. Mix the baking powder, salt and flour together and sift by thirds into the liquid mixture. Beat the batter well and pour it into the pan(s).
Bake on a center rack until done. Depending on the size of your pans, this may take anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf. When it comes out clean, the bread is done.
While the bread is baking, juice the lemon and mix the juice with a third cup of sugar. Pour the mixture over the bread as soon as you take it out of the oven and let the bread cool in the pan.
NOTES: Be careful not to fill the pans more than two-thirds full so you will be able to pour the juice mixture over the loaves after they have been baked.
Jerri juices the lemon before removing the zest, but do whatever you find easier.
It is difficult, but you have to let this bread cool thoroughly before cutting and eating it.