Sonkers are juicy, deep-dish, rectangular pies, specific to Surry County, North Carolina. They’re often topped with a “dip,” a glaze made from thickened sweetened condensed milk. Golden Delicious apples and black plums provide the fruity filling In our sonker recipe. While it cooks, the fruit filling bubbles up between the piecrust lattice strips, making this summertime treat look as good as it tastes.
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- Divide the pie pastry into 2 pieces—1 consisting of about ⅘ of the dough and the other about ⅕ (for the lattice top). Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut up the apples and plums and place them in a large bowl. Toss with the lemon juice to keep the apples from browning.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger piece of dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Line a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan with the dough. Roll the remaining piece of dough into a rectangle about 10 inches long. Cut it into ½-inch-wide strips to use as a lattice top.
- In a small bowl, blend the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Sprinkle a light layer of the sugar-flour mixture over the bottom of the crust. Layer the fruit into the baking pan, sprinkling with the sugar-flour mixture as you go. Dot with the butter.
- Arrange the lattice strips diagonally in an open basket weave pattern across the sonker, trimming the dough strips to fit where necessary. Fold in the sidepieces of dough to cover the ends of the lattice strips.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the fruit is hot and bubbling and the crust is browned.
Tip: If you use pre-rolled, store-bought pie pastry, piece it together to make a rectangle. Use the scraps for the lattice.
Use 5 cups blackberries instead of plums. Use white sugar instead of brown. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Sweet-Potato Plum Sonker
Use 1¼ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and very thinly sliced instead of apples. Use dark brown instead of light brown sugar and increase it to 1 cup. Increase the cinnamon to 1½ teaspoons and add ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Increase the butter to 4 tablespoons. Sprinkle the top of the sonker with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Reduce to 350°F and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Serve with sweetened yogurt or sour cream.