Cornbread and blueberries are natural partners, especially in this French toast recipe by chef Erick Williams of Virtue restaurant in Chicago. Dipping cornbread into the blueberry-infused batter gives the bread a beautiful blue marbled pattern while retaining its texture. Be sure to just dip it in the batter and not soak the bread; otherwise, it will fall apart. The cornbread and blueberry sauce can be made one day in advance; use frozen blueberries if fresh ones aren't available. The Chantilly cream on the side adds creamy goodness to this brunch dish, which is rich without being overly sweet or heavy.

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Credit: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Dale / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary

active:
45 mins
total:
2 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
4
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Ingredients

Cornbread
French Toast

Directions

Prepare the Cornbread:
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir egg mixture into cornmeal mixture just until combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan; smooth top.

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  • Bake in preheated oven until Cornbread is light brown around edges and a wooden pick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool in loaf pan 5 minutes. Invert Cornbread onto a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Trim ends, and slice into 8 (1-inch) slices. Set aside.

Make the French Toast:
  • Bring blueberries and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until blueberries soften, about 3 minutes. Gently mash blueberries using back of a spoon or a potato masher. Simmer blueberries, stirring often, until they start to break down and volume is reduced to about 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

  • Place a medium-size metal bowl and a metal whisk in freezer until very cold, about 10 minutes. Add cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla to cold metal bowl; beat using cold whisk until medium peaks begin to form, about 2 minutes. Do not overbeat! Refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to use.

  • Whisk together eggs in a large, wide-bottomed bowl until combined. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla; whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup blueberry sauce. Reserve remaining blueberry sauce for serving. 

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Working in 2 batches, dip Cornbread slices into batter (do not soak them), cook in skillet until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side. 

  • Divide French toast evenly among 4 plates; top with reserved blueberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Serve with room-temperature butter and maple syrup.

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