What in the world is a sonker ? If the word sonker doesn’t ring a bell,
you probably have never visited North Carolina and if you have, you didn’t ask for dessert. A saucer of sonker with milk dip sure hits the spot after a big plate of southern fried chicken, creamed potatoes and slaw with sweet tea. A sonker has been and is still called by various names such as cobbler, tart, pie, torte, grunt, slump, buckle, crisp. But if you want a delicious cobbler in North Carolina, you want to order the sonker on the dessert menu. All the recipes use fresh berries and even sweet potato cooked in their juices . Whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand is mixed with sugar , some cornstarch and butter and then the dough is made to cover it . They are all homemade and simple to make. The difference between a sonker and a cobbler is the way you blend the fruit and unshaped dough, mixed into the juices of the berries. Cobblers have pastry, sonkers use dough.
A sonker is a deep-dish pie, juicier than cobbler. It is a dessert large enough to feed a big family It was often baked in a bread pan that ft inside a wood-burning stove. I cook mine in a deep cast iron pan that bakes in the oven. My recipe calls for pouring a batter made of flour, sugar, and milk on top to bubble up between the fruit.
And then there is the “dip,” a sweet, thickened milk flavored with vanilla extract or spices, such as cinnamon or allspice. It is served on top of the sonker.
Recently I had a hankering for some sonker and dip and decided to try the recipe with frozen blueberries instead of fresh. Served with the dip and a scoop of ice cream, there were no leftovers. It is a simple , fast and tasty recipe.
The sonker is so delicious that North Carolina has a festival in its honor. As you know in Carolina, we celebrate every fruit and nut with a festival with Fourth of July in between..You will definitely find something fittin’ to eat.
- • 4 1/2 half-pints blackberries
- • 1 cup granulated sugar
- • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- • 1 cup all-purpose flour
- • 1 teaspoon baking powder
- • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- • 1/4 teaspoon salt
- • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- • 3/4 cup buttermilk
- • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- • 2 cups whole milk
- • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter a 10-inch skillet or a 9-inch pie pan and set aside.
- Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a medium-size bowl. Stir until the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the berries are well-coated. Cover bowl with a kitchen cloth and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
- Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter cubes until the mixture is crumbly and the size of peas or smaller.
- Create a well in the center of the mixture. Pour in the buttermilk, and using a large spoon, gently incorporate just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. The mixture will look quite wet at this point, but that’s fine.
- Heat the milk in a medium-seized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Whisk the sugar and starch in a small bowl to mix well, then add to the milk along with the vanilla extract, stirring until thoroughly blended and smooth.
- Reduce the heat under the saucepan to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes until the mixture is reduced by half.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a pourable container. Cover and set aside while the sonker bakes.
- Place the blackberry mixture in the prepared skillet.
- Using a large spoon,dollop the surface of the blackberries with the biscuit topping, aiming for mounds of about 3 tablespoons of batter. You needn’t be terribly specific on the biscuit amounts; as long as the surface is dotted with reasonably similar biscuit mounds, you’re in good shape.
- Pour the melted butter over the biscuit topping and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking an additional 30 minutes.
- Cool at least 30 minutes, then, just before serving, drizzle each portion with several tablespoons of dip.
- Serves 8