Is there a way to rescue freezer-burnt ice cream or sorbet?
Ice cream and sorbet, even when kept tightly sealed, eventually turn icy and exhibit freezer burn due to the temperature swings created when the freezer door is opened and closed, which cause them to continuously melt and refreeze. We wondered if melting down these iced-over frozen desserts and giving them a spin in an ice cream maker could restore their smooth, creamy texture.
To find out, we let batches of our vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet thaw completely, churned them in our favorite ice cream machine, and then refroze them according to the recipes. The ice cream came out airy and crumbly, but the sorbet emerged from its return trip as good as new. Here’s why: The fats and proteins in custard-based ice creams tenaciously hold on to air that’s incorporated during the churning process even after being melted, making the ice cream more brittle and overaerated with a subsequent round of churning and freezing. Sorbet, which contains very little protein and little or no fat, gives up the incorporated air easily, making a respun base as good as a fresh one. The bottom line? There’s no point in respinning ice cream, but sorbet (either homemade or store-bought) that has turned hard and icy can easily be revitalized via a repeat trip through an ice cream maker.