Vreni Giger is my favorite Swiss woman chef – her food sings with flavor, is never contrived, and always delights in both taste and appearance.  This tart is one I tasted when I visited the Jaegerhof several years ago.  I had dinner with a press person from St. Gallen Tourism at the chef’s table in the kitchen – about 12 courses worth!  It was early fall, so the tart was garnished with a poached pear.  The recipe below is my re-creation of the one I tasted.  Vreni Giger’s tart had a thin layer of chocolate sponge cake as the “crust.”  In this recipe, I’ve used a brownie layer for the bottom.

Makes one 9-inch cake, about 12 servings


Brownie Base

4 tablespoons/1/2 stick unsalted butter

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg

Large pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Mousse Batter

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1 large vanilla bean, split

Large pinch of salt

4 ounces/1 stick unsalted butter

9 ounces semisweet chocolate

6 large eggs

One 9-inch spring form pan, buttered

  1. For the brownie base, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and let it bubble up and get hot; off heat add the chocolate and swirl the pan to submerge the chocolate.  Let stand a couple of minutes, then add the brown sugar and whisk smooth.
  2. Whisk the sugar and flour together and whisk in the egg smoothly.  Whisk in the salt and vanilla, then use a rubber spatula to mix in the chocolate mixture.
  3. Spread the batter in the prepared pan; bake until set, about 30 minutes.
  4. While the brownie base is baking, make the cake batter:  Stir the water, sugar, and vanilla bean together and bring to a boil, whisking to release the vanilla seeds.  Remove the bean and add the butter; continue cooking until the butter has melted.
  5. Off heat, add the chocolate and whisk smooth. Whisk in the eggs 2 at a time.
  6. Once the brownie batter is baked, remove the pan from the oven and pour in the chocolate mousse batter.
  7. Return the pan to the oven and decrease the temperature to 325 degrees.  Bake until the mousse batter has set, about 40 minutes.