Yesterday I shared my thoughts on the latest Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, Life Is Sweet. The book contains a wide variety of dishes and sweet treats for all the family, ranging from super easy black pepper cookies to more advanced baking skills in a Chocolate Doberge Cake. I fancied challenging myself at something a little different and with it being 4th of July (Independence Day) I thought Blackberry Sonker would be perfect.
The Blackberry Sonker
The Blackberry Sonker is a sort of fruit cobbler created in North Carolina. This recipe makes a rich berry compote layer, topped with large lumps of biscuits instead of a cobbler topping.
Biscuits are basically an American version of a British Scone, usually eaten with gravy and meat or fried chicken. Yes, I was confused by it too but apparently it’s all the rage and I can’t argue with that. However, using buttermilk biscuits make this dish – soaking up the fruit juices. Serve this with the vanilla ‘dip’ – a thin custard and you’ll win everyone over!
For the filling
215g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For biscuit topping
135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
45g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
45g unsalted butter, melted
For the dip
470ml whole milk
110g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Bake in one 9inch, deep pie dish or ovenproof pan
Serves 8-10. This dessert is sweet and the biscuits are filling, a little goes a long way
- Preheat oven to 220°C, Gas Mark 7. Butter pie dish or ovenproof pan
- For the berry filling, combine the blackberries, sugar, cornflour, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir through until everything mixed, set aside for 15-30 minutes
- For the biscuit topping, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in another bowl. With very cold, dry fingers, rub the butter cubes into the mix to form a crumbly mixture, with no pieces bigger than the size of a pea. Create a well in the middle, then pour in the buttermilk, using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients until they are just incorporated. Set aside
- For the dip, heat the milk over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Mix the sugar and cornflour in a bowl, making sure all is well mixed. Add the boiling milk, along with vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until everything mixed and smooth
- Pour the milk mixture back into the saucepan and reduce the heat so the mix is gently simmering. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Do this until the mixture has reduced by half and thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug, cover the top of mixture directly with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming. et aside.
- To assemble the sonker, put the blackberry mixture into the pie dish or pan. Using a spoon, plop the biscuit batter onto the blackberries. Each ‘mound’ should be about 3 tablespoons. It doesn’t need to be exact though, just make sure the surface is covered in similar sized biscuit shapes
- Pour the melted butter over the top of the biscuit topping and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 175°C, Gas Mark 4 and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. Until the biscuits are firm and golden brown. Cool for about 30 minutes, pour the dip onto each portion and serve.
The Blackberry Sonker was a great success and went down a treat. I absolutely love making desserts and this one, although having quite a few components, was pretty easy to make! *Note: I used half blackberry, half cooking apples as I couldn’t get hold of enough blackberries* so it’s pretty adaptable to whichever fruits you like in a pudding like this. I’d say it’s definitely one to enjoy throughout Autumn and Winter so I will definitely be making it again!
What are your thoughts on this Blackberry Sonker recipe? Is it something you’d like to try or are you more of a cake fan?
You can read the full book review here. To purchase Life Is Sweet, click here.
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