These nutty, fragrant, crunchy little numbers are brilliant to have in your biscuit armoury as they're great for keeping creamy desserts such as pannacotta or posset company, but are equally happy in a more low-key role, served with a cup of coffee or tea. Their most distinctive feature, however, is their longevity. These will keep their flavour and crunch for at least a month so are perfect for giving away as gifts - or keeping all to yourself, of course.
150g shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
250g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
250g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
Icing sugar, to dust
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6 and line baking tray with greaseproof paper. Scatter out the pistachios and roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until beginning to darken slightly, then remove and leave to cool.
Roughly chop the nuts, then transfer to a mixing bowl. In a pestle and mortar, lightly crush the fennel seeds, then add to the bowl along with the sugar, zest, baking powder and salt. Mix well, then stir in the eggs, combining with your hands until it just comes together.
Divide the mix in half, then on an icing sugar-dusted surface, roll into thick, 5cm diameter sausages. Sit on the lined baking tray with plenty of space between them and place in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.
Remove and leave to cool for approximately 15 minutes until slightly hardened but still warm. Turn the oven down to 150C/ 300F/gas 2. With a very sharp knife, slice diagonally into 15mm-wide pieces. Sit on the lined tray and bake at a lower temperature for a further 15-20 minutes until firmed up but not too coloured, then turn over and cook the other side for 10-15 minutes.
Serve warm or leave to cool completely before eating and store in an airtight container. Will last for at least a month.