French Toast With Quick Blackberry Compote and Lemon Ricotta Recipe

French toast topped with blackberry compote and ricotta next to a mug of coffee.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Using milk to thin out ricotta cheese gives it a lighter, less stiff texture.
  • A quick blackberry compote adds acidity and sweetness to the toppings.
  • Our French toast technique produces flavorful French toast with a crispy crust.

This French toast with lemon ricotta and blackberry compote is one of those breakfast dishes that look and sound way more difficult and time-consuming than they actually are. I mean, it's impressively delicious—fresh yet rich, bright, sweet, and eggy—but it's really not all that hard to make. If you've got enough time to make a proper batch of French toast, then you've got enough time to throw in a pair of toppings that will take that French toast from Tuesday-morning staple to weekend blowout.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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For the Blackberry Compote:

  • 8 ounces (225g) blackberries, carefully washed

  • 3 tablespoons (40g) sugar, plus more to taste

  • Pinch kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon (8g) finely grated zest and 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon, divided (reserve 2 teaspoons zest for ricotta), plus additional zest for garnish if desired

For the Lemon Ricotta:

  • 6 ounces (170g) high-quality fresh ricotta cheese (see note)

  • Whole milk, as needed, for thinning ricotta

For the French Toast:

  • 6 large eggs

  • 4 tablespoons (50g) sugar, plus more for sprinkling

  • Pinch kosher salt

  • Pinch ground cinnamon

  • Pinch freshly grated cardamom or nutmeg

  • 2 cups (450ml) whole milk

  • 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, for the pan

  • 8 (1/2-inch-thickslices bread


  1. For the Blackberry Compote: Combine blackberries, 3 tablespoons sugar, pinch salt, and 1/4 cup (60ml) water in a small saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, smashing berries with a potato masher or whisk, until a dark, syrupy mash has formed, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add more sugar to taste, if needed. Compote should be sweet and tart. Set aside.

  2. For the Lemon Ricotta: Combine ricotta and remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest in a bowl and stir with a spoon. Add a few splashes of milk, if necessary, to adjust mixture to a consistency that is not runny but spreads very slowly when you pile it up with a spoon. Set aside.

  3. For the French Toast: Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 200°F (95°C). If using very fresh, moist bread, arrange slices in a single layer on rack and cook in oven, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom or nutmeg until thoroughly combined. Add milk and whisk to blend.

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon (15g) butter in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, swirling skillet, until foaming subsides, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 2 slices of bread in egg bath, turning, until saturated. Add soaked bread to skillet and cook, swirling occasionally, until browned on bottom side, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle top side of bread with sugar, flip, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer French toast to rack in oven, arranging in a single layer, to keep warm. Repeat with remaining slices of bread and egg bath.

  6. Serve French toast with ricotta and compote spooned on top. Garnish with more lemon zest, if desired.

Special equipment

Potato masher or whisk; wire rack; rimmed baking sheet; large nonstick or cast iron skillet


Look for ricotta made without any gums or stabilizers, which produce a shelf-stable product with poor texture and flavor. Or make your own.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
613 Calories
29g Fat
65g Carbs
24g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 613
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 15g 73%
Cholesterol 336mg 112%
Sodium 526mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 24%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 13mg 66%
Calcium 397mg 31%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 487mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)