From the western counties of Surry and Wilkes in North Carolina, a sonker uses dough that is more like a biscuit, then rolled out, cut in strips, and placed along the sides of the baking pan. A fruit filling is added and some dough strips are laid over the fruit in a quasi-lattice. The filling is very juicy, and it is served with a sweet sauce called a dip. One July weekend, pastry chef and good friend Jenni Field followed the North Carolina Surry County Sonker Trail with her husband.
I eagerly followed the updates and pictures she posted on social media. The day after she returned, and while her sonker experience was still fresh in her senses, we chatted about the finer points of sweetness, texture, and temperature. Each of us then set out to create our own versions of this regional dessert. The filling is very adaptable, and you can use whatever is available. Try peaches, berries, or cherries mixed together, or a single fruit filling. One filling I made used a combination of green gooseberries, white currants, red currants, peaches, and a few tart cherries. It was spectacular.
Some of this will be poured into the sonker halfway through the bake. Pour the rest in a pretty pitcher and pass at the table. Milk dip should be served warm or at room temperature.
Use a combination of sliced peaches, white and red currants, and green gooseberries to total 7 to 8 cups (about 2 qts, 1.8 L) fruit.