Nigella Lawson’s first book, How To Eat, doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. First published back in 1998 to wide acclaim, many of Nigella’s fans (including myself) didn’t discover it until after the publication of ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’. My kitchen-stained copy of How to Eat doesn’t have a lot of pictures, and lacks the gloss of Nigella’s later books, but it is chock full of seriously valuable kitchen information, delicious recipes and menus. It’s also a delightful read.
I made these Pistachio Crescents for the first time a week or so ago, and I have become slightly addicted to them. Light and flaky, they seriously melt in your mouth. I’ve even taken to making them in double batches. Mixing these cookies by hand takes a little longer, but the results are well worth it. They make a wonderful accompaniment to Turkish Delight Syllabub, as suggested by Nigella in her book Nigella Bites, but they are also good with a cup of coffee or mint tea.
- 75 grams shelled pistachios
- 60 grams unsalted butter, softened until very soft
- 15 grams icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 45 grams flour
- pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease one large or two small baking sheets.
- Grind the pistachios in a food processor until they are very fine.
- Put the butter in a mixing bowl and cream it with a wooden spoon.
- Add the icing sugar.
- Beat until the batter is well mixed and quite light and soft.
- Sift the flour and salt into the mixture and stir in.
- Add the ground pistachios and beat just until mixed.
- At this point the batter should be sticky, but firm enough to mould with your hands. If it is too soft, pop it in the fridge for fifteen to twenty minutes.
- Shape scant tablespoons of dough into sausage shapes and then lay them on the baking sheets, folding the ends in to make croissant shapes.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, watching the cookies carefully. You want them cooked, with firm tops, but not too brown.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Cool for a few minutes to let them firm up and then remove the fragile cookies carefully from the baking sheets.
- Dredge the cookies with icing sugar while they are still warm.
Very slightly adapted from How to Eat, by Nigella Lawson.