October 12, 2011

A walk in September is a walk to remember AND Sonker

Or at least rhyme about.

As we got closer to her friends house, Orianna had to whisper instructions to Lily on how to behave. 

The friend wasn't outside, so this is them standing there dejectedly

These glads made September happy!

Cody and Anthony bringing me pie plates. 

And getting chatted up by the neighbor about Cody's caddy.

Lily helping 

Gilbert's therapist, Judy. Hey, see my nice wood floor? Oh yeah. 

Making the crust for sonker. When I saw the name of this recipe I knew I HAD to make it. Apparently it is a regional North Carolina dish. 

This isn't a healthy, diet friendly recipe

The dough divided. 

Four pounds of chopped up sweet potatoes

Steamed in apple cider

Putting the crust in a 9x13 pan

Steamed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and everything nice mixed in. I know, looks gross. But YUM!

Weaving the strips on top

And I forgot to mix in the butter, so I chopped in up fine and put one in each square.

My solution to not having tin foil. Put another 9x13 on top!

And I don't have a picture of the finished product. Which I should, since it was exceedingly unpopular with Vaughans. Justin, the kids, and I all loved it. But apparently you have to really like sweet potatoes or else it is too gross for words. Hey, it has a cinnamon sugar sprinkled crust, all kinds of crazy, buttery goodness--how could this be a bad thing? It can't. Except if you really hate sweet potatoes. And if you do, I am sorry for you. Sorry you can't have sonker and sweet potato fries.

Sonker from Cooks Country Oct/Nov 2011
Serves 12
A note from Cooks Country
Sonker is not to be confused with classic pureed sweet potato pie. This deep-dish beauty is chock full of thinly sliced, steamed sweet potatoes coated in a mixture of cider, brown sugar, butter, flour, and warm spices, such as cinnamon and allspice, and is served with a thin, custardlike sauce. 

(Okay, are you not dying to try this yet? Because if you aren't, we might not be able to be friends anymore. Hey, sweet potatoes are important to me!)

  • 2(15-ounce) boxes Pillsbury Just Unroll Pie Crust (or just make your own!)
  • 1large egg, beaten
  • 2cups apple cider
  • 4pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 1tablespoon granulated sugar
Custard Dip
  • 2cups whole milk
  • 1/4cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 2teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1. FOR THE SONKER: (Seriously, I think it easier to make your own dough than to try to get these things to stick together right. Unless you hate making your own dough. Whatever floats your boat.) Working on lightly floured counter, unroll 2 dough rounds. Brush half of 1 round with egg and overlap with second round. Roll out dough to 17 by 13-inch rectangle and fit into 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat shaping and rolling with remaining 2 dough rounds; reserve beaten egg. Trim dough into rectangle and cut into ten 1-inch strips. Transfer dough strips to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring cider to boil in Dutch oven. Place steamer basket in Dutch oven and fill with sweet potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are nearly tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and reserve sweet potatoes, leaving cider in pot. (Our steamer basket was lost in one of our many moves, so I just gently simmered the sweet potatoes right in the cider. Of course, I was unable to reduce the cider in the next step. I did not let this worry me.)
  • 3. Cook cider over high heat until reduced to ½ cup, about 5 minutes. Combine drained sweet potatoes, brown sugar, reduced cider, butter, flour, lemon juice, vanilla, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, and salt in large bowl. Spread out sweet potato mixture on rimmed baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  • 4. Scrape cooled sweet potato mixture into dough-lined dish and press into even layer. Brush edges of dough with reserved egg. With long side of dish facing you, lay 4 dough strips lengthwise over sweet potato mixture. Weave remaining 6 strips into lattice pattern. Press dough strips into bottom crust and trim excess. Fold dough sides inward under lip of baking dish and crimp with fork.
  • 5. Combine granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in bowl. Brush dough with reserved egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until deep golden brown, 55 to 60 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let sonker cool on wire rack for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving. (Sonker can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
  • 6. FOR THE CUSTARD DIP: Meanwhile, bring milk, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Off heat, add vanilla. Transfer to bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve with sonker. (I didn't make this sauce. No one liked it or wanted to really try it, and us Cottens liked it well enough without it. Someday, I will make sonker with this sauce. But I might halve the recipe if we have no one to help us eat it.)


Virginia said...

Love the fall pics! I think you should cook like Lily, just climb on up on the counters and dig in! And I LOVE the wood floors. And sonker sounds like a muppet, but an appetizing muppet. Was it really heavy? I think the custard dip would go well w/ it!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

I love me some sweet potato fries, but I'm not digging the idea of it in a pie. At least not enough to make it myself. If YOU feel like doing all the work, I will generously taste a piece. Cause I'm nice that way. I love the pictures of walking girls. I really need to come see your pretty floors!

Cecil and Amy said...

We're leaving for NC tomorrow evening. I'll be on the lookout for sonker!