Blackberry Sonker

A sonker is a type of fruit cobbler from North Carolina, this one is blackberry. Get a flavour for Hummingbird Bakery's new cookbook - Life is Sweet.

Hummingbird bakery give us a flavour of their new cookbook 'Life is Sweet' with this amazing blackberry sonker...

In addition to this sneak peak recipe, we are giving you the chance to win Hummingbird Bakery’s ‘Life is Sweet’ cookbook! We have FIVE copies to be won in our brand new competition. For a chance of winning a copy, please answer the following question correctly:

Q: Where was the first UK Hummingbird Bakery shop? A – Portabello Road, London B – Soho London C – Islington, London


A sonker is a type of fruit cobbler from North Carolina, usually served with ‘dip’ – which is basically a thin custard. Instead of a cobbler topping, the sonker has larger lumps of biscuit to soak up the warm fruity filling. Serves 8-10
For the filling
  • 750g (1lb 10oz) blackberries
  • 215g (7 ½ oz) caster sugar
  • 30g (1oz) cornflour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • For the biscuit topping
  • 135g (5oz) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 45g (1 ½ oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 175ml (6fl oz) buttermilk
  • 45g (1 ½ oz) unsalted butter, melted
For the dip
  • 470ml (16 ½ fl oz) whole milk
  • 110g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
You'll need: One 23cm (9in) deep pie dish or 25cm (10in) cast iron skillet or ovenproof pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F), Gas mark 7. Butter the pie dish or skillet.
  2. To make the filling, combine the blackberries, sugar, cornflour, flour and cinnamon in a bowl, stir through until everything is well mixed, then set aside for 15–30 minutes.
  3. To make the biscuit topping, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl. With very cold, dry fingers, rub in the butter cubes until the mixture is crumbly and there are no butter pieces bigger than the size of a pea. Heap up the flour and butter mix and create a well, then pour in the buttermilk and, using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients until just incorporated.
Set aside.
  1. To make the dip, heat the milk over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Whisk the sugar and cornflour in another bowl, making sure all is well mixed, then add the boiling milk, along with the vanilla, whisking vigorously until everything is completely mixed and smooth.
  2. Pour back into the saucepan, reduce the heat so the mix is gently simmering and cook for about 15–20 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s reduced by about half and thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug, covering the top directly with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Set aside.
  3. To assemble the sonker, put the blackberry mixture into the pie dish or skillet and place on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Using a spoon, plop the biscuit batter onto the blackberries. Each ‘mound’ should be about 3 tablespoons. It doesn’t have to be exact, but the surface should be covered with similar-sized ‘biscuit’ shapes.
  4. Pour the melted butter over the biscuit topping and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 175C (350F), 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.
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