American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

American Classics: Peach Sonker

[Photograph: Pam Parrella]

In my hunt for regional delights I've explored everything from Brown Bettys to Cobblers, but one pie-like dessert that has long intrigued me is an Appalachian treat known as a Sonker.

In Pamela Goyan Kittler and Kathryn P. Sucher's book Food and Culture, they describe sonkers as "a deep-dish fruit or sweet potato pie made with breadcrumbs or biscuit dough or pie crust—there is no agreement on how to prepare it."

Sonkers are native to Surry County, North Carolina and Mount Airy has an annual day-long festival in tribute to them. The event website promises "old-time music" and "impromptu flat-foot dancing" as well as a variety of sonkers: apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, peach, strawberry and sweet potato. Mount Airy itself was the inspiration for Mayberry of the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., and I can just imagine dozens of Aunt Beas serving up slices of sonker. Sounds like a foodie road trip if there ever was one.

If you can't make it to Mount Airy, do set aside some time to try a sonker at home, especially while peaches are in their prime.

Get the Recipe

Peach Sonker »

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered children's book editor by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie and a Midtown Lunch contributor. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.

Add a comment

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: