Cut the pineapple in half, keeping the leaves intact. Cut the flesh out of the pineapple shell with a small knife. Use a spoon to scoop portions you don’t reach with the knife.
Reserve the pineapple shells. Cut away and remove the middle, inedible, fibrous core. Cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Place the pineapple pieces in a bowl and add the confectioner’s sugar, orange-flavored liqueur and juice.
Toss the fruit to dissolve the sugar. Macerate the fruit at least one hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 450º. Beat the egg whites until foamy.
Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly and gradually going from medium to high speed, until the whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks. Put the fruit and accumulated juices back into the reserved pineapple shells.
Place the meringue on top of the pineapple shells, mounding it in the center and spreading it to the sides, making sure to seal the edges. Place the pineapple halves on a cookie sheet.
Cover the leaves with aluminum foil to protect them from burning. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Remove the foil from the leaves. Drizzle the melted apricot preserves on top, if desired. Makes 6 servings.