One of the things I like about our home in the desert is the large lemon tree. The adjective large can be taken both ways, by the way – the tree is large, and so are the lemons!
Here are two lemons from our tree, sitting in a bowl with a rather puny specimen I picked up at the store before I left for my two weeks in the desert. Yes, these lemons are certainly B I G! I packed four into my carry-on to bring home, which, along with the other stuff, got it close to its weight limit.
I knew exactly what I was going to do with one of them – make a Lemon Teabread for my son – it’s one of his favorites, and there is something about him being away at college and not sure if he’s getting enough to eat that brings out the baker in me.
So on Friday, the day after I got home, I set to work. I found the recipe many years ago in a long-forgotten English cookbook, and it is easy – the cake looks like nothing, but looks are deceptive because it tastes divine! I used the smallest of the lemons, which still gave me more than enough grated rind and juice to make it really lemony. It is really a basic pound cake recipe, with 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest (sometimes I like to change things up and use a zester – the long strings of lemon zest are fun!)
After the cake has cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes and been turned out onto a rack, I brush a warm glaze (5 tablespoons of lemon juice boiled with 2 tablespoons of sugar and stirred for about 3 minutes until it has thickened) over the top and sides of the warm cake and leave it to cool completely. As I said, the cake doesn’t look anything special – but take a bite and you are transported to lemon heaven!
Bob is now on his way to California and planned to stop in Missoula yesterday to have a late lunch with our son. So the cake was carefully wrapped in foil and placed on the front seat of Bob’s car, along with another large lemon (I wonder what he will use it for), and several admonitions not to forget to hand it over!
A few hours later I got a text from a very happy son who appreciated that the cake had been made with a lemon from our own tree – a slice of sunshine to brighten the Montana winter.