Lazy Strawberry Sonker
Sonker has spent too much time in the shadows. We wanted to give this Appalachian original its due.
Why This Recipe Works
Not quite a pie and not quite a cobbler, sonker is a juicy, fruit-filled deep-dish dessert rarely found outside Surry County, North Carolina. While toppings vary, a subset of sonker recipes dub themselves “lazy” sonkers, in which the fruit is cooked into a sweet stew and topped with a pancake batter that bakes into a distinct, lightly crisp layer of cake. For our version, we tossed strawberries with sugar, salt, water, and cornstarch and then baked them until they bubbled and thickened. We then poured the batter over the filling and returned it to the oven. The thick stewed strawberries gave the batter a sturdy, level surface on which to bake, and the hot filling baked the batter from underneath. Eight tablespoons of melted butter made the batter light and floatable so that it baked into a tender-yet-crisp raft of cake.