LAYALI KHALEEJIAH Gulf nightsIts warm, its dark, it has a wonderful aroma. Its Gulf Nights. An improvised self-saucing dessert recipe, inspired by ingredients and flavours popular in the Arabian Gulf.

3/4 cup stoned dates mashed in
3/4 cup boiled water
1 cup all-purpose flour
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoons soft butter at room temperature
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons sesame seedsSauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Debs (date syrup)
11/2 cups boiled water

1.Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt into a mixing bowl.

2.Make a well in the flour. Add in the butter and dates at room temperature. Mix using a wooden spoon.

3.Add nuts and mix well.

4.Spread in a 17 x 30cm greased baking dish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and gently press with the back of the spoon.

5.Dissolve sugar and date syrup in 11/2 cups boiling water. Gently and evenly pour over the prepared mixture.

6.Bake in a water basin (Pan Marie) in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC or 350ºF for 30-40 min. or until the top layer sets like a cake, while a sauce has formed at the bottom.

7.Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature with warm custard.