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.


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

Recipe Summary

45 mins
2 hrs 25 mins


French Toast


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.

  • 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.