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Semifreddo di ananas

The recipe is adapted from Gualtiero Marchesi, La mia nuova grande cucina italiana.  If you can’t find a pineapple the right size, simply increase the proportions of the other ingredients accordingly.

Serves 4

1 pineapple, about 2  1/2 pounds

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup heavy cream

for the meringue:

3 egg whites

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

grated rind of 1 orange

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

1.Cut the pineapple lengthwise in half, leaving on the leaves.  Scoop out the insides with a spoon and set the shell in the freezer for 2 hours.

2. Puree the pulp in a food processor.  Combine the pulp with 1/2 cup sugar and set in a wide saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the pulp cooks down to the consistency of apple sauce, about 15 minutes.  Cool then chill in a bowl.

3. Combine the remaining sugar in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water and cook until it reaches the soft ball stage, about 238°F on a candy thermometer.  In the meantime, beat the the egg yolks with an electric mixer until light and creamy.  Gradually pour the sugar syrup into the yolk mixture beating continually.  Continue beating until the mixture is cool and thickened.

4. Stir the pineapple mixture into the egg yolks and chill.

5. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into the yolk mixture.  Spoon into the frozen pineapple shells, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until  firm, 3 to 6 hours. The recipe can be made several days ahead to this point.

6. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 500°F.

7. Make the meringue: whip the egg whites with the 4 tablespoons granulated sugar until stiff.  Fold in the orange rind.  Decorate the tops of the frozen pineapple shells with the meringue and sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar.  Set on a baking sheet and place on the top shelf of the preheated oven for about 3 minutes, until golden.  Serve immediately.