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Italian Semifreddo Cassata

4 egg whites
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 oz. chopped nuts (almonds or pecans)
8 oz. candied fruits, chopped

Combine sugar with about 1/4 cup water and place over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Stir to combine. Let sugar melt and boil, approaching candy temperatures as you beat the egg whites to medium peaks. Watch sugar saucepan carefully... just as the sugar begins to turn golden (you still want it to be mostly clear), remove pan from heat and drizzle into egg whites while beating. The heat from the sugar will stabilize and cook the egg white, so you can continue beating egg whites on high without worrying about overbeating. Some of the sugar will have created clumps in the egg whites, so continue beating until all sugar is smoothly incorporated, about 5 minutes. Let this "italian meringue" cool to a cool room temperature.

Soak chopped candied fruits in hot water for 2 minutes to remove the sugar coating. Drain.

Beat whipping cream to very firm, then fold in italian meringue, chopped nuts and fruits.

Spread mixture into a plastic wrap lined mold (bowl, pan, whatever) and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Unmold, slice and serve... possibly drizzling with chocolate, caramel and/or creme anglaise.

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