Glace Plombières
Adapted after Michel Bilger's classic 'canonical' recipe for this French culinary treasure
  • 1000 ml (4 cups) whole milk
  • 300 grams (about 1½ cups) powdered/confectioner's sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 200-250 grams candied fruits (preferably of at least three colours)
  • 100 ml (about 0.4 cup) Kirsch of high quality (for macerating the candied fruits)
  1. Boil the milk [Note: likely unnecessary, if you use pasteurised milk!]
  2. Put the milk, the sugar and the egg yolks in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a temperature of either 70°C (158°C F), or to a maximum of 85 °C (185° F) [to avoid health hazards, keeping to the higher end of the spectrum seems the safest option]. While cooking the base, keep whisking it with a spatula - Bilger suggests moving it around in the pattern of "eights", which seems sensible.
  3. When ready, chill the base as quickly as possible [Bilger's original recipe calls for a rapid chilling to -20 °C (-4°F), accomplished by pouring the hot base straight into an ice cold ice cream maker to chill. This last part is probably not to be recommended for home ice cream makers].
  4. Churn the ice cream base. When almost done, add the candied, macerated fruits. Finish the churning.
  5. Store the finished result in the freezer.
I have seen accounts of the recipe that state that raw milk should be used. This seems quite possible, given the age of the recipe and some connoisseurs' appreciation for raw milk in ice cream production (it would also explain why the first instruction is to boil the milk). While I cannot recommend using raw milk because of the possible health hazards involved, I want to mention it anyway (after all, the basic recipe is not mine anyway;-). Myself, I went to 82°C (about 179.5° F) in the mixing-together step (2). Another compromise could be to try to get hold of some low-pasteurised milk, if available to you.
Glace Plombières with a spicy twist: In case you worry that the overall result would be too sweet for you, why not try adding a little ginger to the flavour palette? Go with your taste, but about 1-2 teaspoons of finely grated ginger, or about 1 tablespoon of candied ginger, should be enough to add such a twist.
Chilling the ice cream base: Unlike the original Bilger recipe with its drastic chilling straight in the ice cream maker, I chilled the ice cream base in the same way I chill almost all bases: by putting it in a container and place it in ice cold water, then possibly adding some further chilling-time in the refrigerator.