The Surry Sonker Trail, a confectionary trail showcasing a unique dessert passed down through generations in Surry County, has added Skull Camp Smokehouse & Brewery in Elkin as its ninth eatery.
Smokehouse chef Corey Moore moved to Surry County as a youngster and quickly learned the importance of sonker in the region.
“Sonker is one of those dishes where culture and culinary meet in a very specific way,” Moore said. “I have grown to love this dessert as much as I have grown to love the area and the people contained within it.”
For the uninitiated, sonker is pie/cobbler hybrid. Each location on the trail makes its own interpretation of the dessert with some combination of sweetened fruit and crust either cooked on the stovetop or baked in the oven, with the occasional secret ingredient mixed in.
At Skull Camp Smokehouse, Moore starts by mixing fruit with water, cornstarch and sugar and baking the mixture for 30 minutes to allow the fruit to release its juices. He then makes a sweet batter, pours it on top of the fruit, slides it back in the oven and bakes until golden brown.
“To me, sonker should be full of fruit, topped with a sweet, creamy batter then baked in a deep-dish pan with the intention of feeding a crowd,” Moore said. “We serve our sonker with a scoop of vanilla ice cream which offers a great juxtaposition to its warm, crusty counterpart.”
Skull Camp will seasonally rotate the fruit in its sonker to include cherries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and sweet potatoes.
The smokehouse and brewery opened last fall in a former general store with wood paneling and a rock fireplace that complements a comfort-food menu of smoked pork, chicken, brisket and ribs and sides of mac and cheese, collard greens and baked beans.
In addition to Skull Camp Smokehouse, the Surry Sonker Trail includes Anchored Bakery, Old North State Winery and Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy; The Living Room at Hilda’s Place in Pilot Mountain; Rockford General Store and Putters Patio & Grill in Dobson; and Southern on Main and Roxxi & Lulu’s Bistro & Bakery in Elkin.
“Whether you’re from California or a native of Surry County, I hope that the comfort and satisfaction found in this dish take you right back to your grandmother’s kitchen,” Moore said.
To receive a Sonker Trail map, call 800-948-0949 or go to www.SonkerTrail.org.