Food & dining

Recipe for Blackberry sonker

Blackberry sonker

Makes one 10-inch skillet pie

You need a 10-inch skillet or pie pan to make this sonker, which is similar to a fruit cobbler. In “A Year of Pies,” author Ashley English writes that this traditional North Carolina pie is typically served with something they call “dip,” a custard sauce. The pie was originally made to feed farm workers, she writes.


Butter (for the skillet or dish)


4 half-pints blackberries

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1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Butter the skillet or dish.

2. In a bowl, combine the blackberries, sugar, arrowroot or cornstarch, flour, and cinnamon.

3. Mix the berries and dry ingredients until the berries are coated all over.

4. Transfer the berry mixture to the skillet. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.


1 cup flour


1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons cut into cubes, 3 tablespoons melted

3/4 cup buttermilk

1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of peas. Make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk. Use a large spoon to gently mix the dough until the dry ingredients are moistened. The mixture will look quite wet, but that’s OK.

2. Using a large spoon, add big spoonfuls of the topping to the top of the berries. Make the mounds using about 3 tablespoons of the dough. The surface should be dotted with similar-sized mounds.

3. Pour the melted butter over the topping.

4. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 minutes or until the biscuits are golden. Cool for 30 minutes. Adapted from “A Year of Pies”