Time: 20 minutes, plus 6 hours for chilling
1 1/2 quarts strawberries
1 tablespoon superfine or granulated sugar, more to taste
1 bottle (750 milliliters) moscato wine, more for serving
2 pounds mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, more for sprinkling if desired
2 plump, moist vanilla beans
48 ladyfingers (2 packages).
1. Hull and slice 1 quart of strawberries. Leave remaining 1/2 quart whole for garnish. Put sliced berries in a bowl and gently toss with superfine or granulated sugar, adding more if berries are very tart. Add a splash of moscato to bowl and macerate for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, whisk together mascarpone, heavy cream and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar. Use a sharp knife to split vanilla beans lengthwise. With the knife’s flat side, scrape out seeds and add to mascarpone mixture. Lightly whisk until soft peaks form. (Save vanilla pods for another use, like vanilla sugar.)
3. Pour 3 cups of moscato into a shallow bowl. Working with 2 or 3 cookies at a time, dip ladyfingers into the wine, turning once to coat for a few seconds so that they can absorb some of the liquid; use as many of them as fit to line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or other 2-quart casserole) in one layer.
4. Spread half of mascarpone mixture onto ladyfingers. Spoon strawberries and juices on top of mascarpone in an even layer. Dip more ladyfingers and arrange on top of berries in an even layer. Top with remaining mascarpone mixture, using a spatula to smooth. Cover and refrigerate torte for at least 6 hours and for as long as 2 days. Garnish with reserved strawberries. Scoop torte into bowls or goblets to serve and drizzle with a little more moscato.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.