Frozen Banana Chocolate Cream Tart

August 27th, 2013 at 6:06 am
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I blog because I love food and I love sharing healthy food with you guys. I blog because I love my job and I love that my blog can be an offshoot of my job.

As such, I try not to use my blog as a place to complain, vent, or “air the laundry,” but I hope you’ll stick with me through this post because it’s not going to be all kale and chia seeds viewed through rose-colored glasses.

Last month I mentioned that I was dealing with some back pain, brought on by an unknown cause. I ended up finding a chiropractor who adjusted the L5 region of my spine for some misalignments. After a few adjustments, I began to feel quite a bit of relief. Up until this point, though, I was in a fair bit of pain and was holding my upper body very rigidly because bending hurt. Due to this, I developed a (self-diagnosed) case of costochondritis. I watched my sister experience this same condition years ago, so I’m pretty confident that’s what I had. I say had because thankfully it resolved itself after about two weeks and I’m feeling much better now. It’s super painful and I’m just glad it went away fairly quickly on its own. But my back is another story…

Last week, the improvements of my back took a downhill turn. I was a bit overeager and went for a light jog on Wednesday morning, followed by a chiropractic adjustment later in the morning and a massage in the afternoon. I think it all was just a bit too much. By Thursday, I was miserable. The pain has changed to something much more acute and difficult to relieve than what I originally had. Another visit to the chiropractor indicated that all of my alignments are holding nicely. I was in such good shape that he actually was surprised I wasn’t skipping out of the office pain-free!

That said, to get to the bottom of what’s going on before I have really big problem on my hands, we went ahead and scheduled an MRI, which I’m going in for tomorrow. Not looking forward to it, but such is life sometimes.

My money is on a stress fracture at this point, which I suspect for various reasons. (If it turns out to be one, I’ll tell you all about why I suspected it, but that’s another post for another day.)

Needless to say, chronic pain has been teaching me many lessons that I thought I knew but realize now that I didn’t. (Also a whole separate post, one which I’m excited to write and share with you once the dust settles here.) It’s incredibly draining on your emotions and very dampening on your spirit to be in pain nonstop, which I’m sure many of you can relate to. For all of you who have suffered from chronic physical pain, my hat is off to you a million times over. Pardon my slang, but if I’m being honest, this totally sucks!

As I’ve been laying around the past few days trying to keep my mind off of worst case scenarios and WebMD horror diagnoses, I stumbled across this summery recipe that I tucked away and forgot to share with you earlier this summer. And with all that I’ve been going through this last week, I really cannot think of anything more desirable right now that a big slice of this Frozen Banana Chocolate Cream Tart. Okay, maybe one thing would be better: two slices!

It’s so hard to see the forest through the trees when we’re in pain, isn’t it? What feels like a week is really just a day when you’re dealing with a body that hurts all the time. But I’m trying to remember that this is only temporal, that the human body is an amazing creation that can heal in wondrous ways, and that all experiences in life—even the ones that hurt like the dickens—are meant to teach, to challenge, and to strengthen us. Way, way, waaayyy easier said than believed, but true nonetheless.

So for now, enjoy some banana cream tart. It’s frozen so it’s perfect for these hot August days. It’s also grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, meaning that it’s pretty darn healthy, too.

When things look grim, we’ve gotta take pleasure in life’s simple gifts, yes?

I think we’ve gotta.

Frozen Banana Chocolate Cream Tart

Yield: Serves 8-10

Bananas, chocolate, and coconut unite in this simple but elegant recipe to create a mouthwatering gluten-free dessert that could actually pass for an indulgent breakfast, too.


1/2 cup raw cashews

1-3/4 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, room temperature (not melted)

2 large bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen (about 1 heaping cup banana slices)

1/2 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)

2 tablespoons honey or Grade B maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside to soak at room temperature for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the almonds for about 30 seconds or until finely ground. Add the cocoa powder and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the dates and coconut oil. Process until the dates are incorporated and the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Reserve about 3/4 cup (loosely packed) of the crust mixture. Press the remaining crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9.5-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze the crust.

Clean the food processor and fit it with the steel blade again. Drain the cashews and add them to the food processor with the coconut milk, honey, and vanilla. Process for about 30 seconds until creamy. Add the frozen banana slices and process until the mixture is thick and smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. (Alternatively, you can blend the filling in a blender instead of a food processor.)

Pour the filling into the frozen crust and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the top of the filling and press very gently to adhere. Return the tart to the freezer for at least 2 hours or until firm. Thaw at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, then cut into slices and serve. (Store leftover slices in the freezer.)

Equipment You’ll Need for This Recipe:


  1. I just want to give you a big hug right now (gingerly so it won’t tense you up). Just after Christmas I reached for a sock that fell out of the dryer and ended up on the floor in pain. The feeling of a giant rubber band that snapped me to the floor was scary. Since I don’t have insurance I took care of it like I did a few years ago, alternating ice and heat. After about 6 weeks it was almost as good as new and I decided to do a Jane Fonda tape. Not smart! Various degrees of pain every day since. Now it’s August and I’ve been pain-free for a week!!! I wake up smiling and so very thankful. Funny coincidence I gave up processed sugar over a week ago! Hmmm. I know that sugar isn’t your problem Hallie. Just wanted you to know I feel for you!

  2. Sorry to read that you are in pain. I went through something similar about 5 years ago, and it turned out to be herniated discs between L4-L5. It was the most pain I’d ever been in in my life. I couldn’t even bend over to put socks on. It did gradually go away with lots of chiropractic care, PT and massage. A couple years ago, my younger brother experienced the exact same thing at the exact same age in the exact same place as me. He saw a surgeon but I talked him out of it, encouraging him to get chiropractic care and PT. He has been pain free since.
    I hope it’s NOT a stress fracture (I’ve had 4) but the bright side of that is, is that stress fractures heal much quicker than herniated discs, nerves or other random spine issues. By my fourth stress fracture, I learned that my body was trying to tell me something, and I needed to take that time off to listen to it.
    Hang in there!
    And the pie looks fantastic, too! :)

  3. So sorry to hear about your pain, Hallie! I’ve had a chronic headache for over 5 years now, so I definitely relate. I hope the MRI sheds some light (or magnetism) on the subject and helps you find relief.

  4. Hallie, I’m so sorry to learn of your troubles!
    I am curious if I can substitute another nut for the almonds in this recipe. I am allergic to them.

  5. I really feel for you with the back pain. I’ve lived with sciatica for 35 years (fortunately I’ve been able to control it pretty well), and I’ve spent a few years dealing with fibromyalgia. I hope there is a non-surgical option for healing your back.

    In the meantime I think you need several slices of that luscious tart! :-)

    • Susan: Wow, 35 years. I am struggling after just a few weeks! I’m glad you’ve been able to manage things. I’m learning how important it is to keep one’s spirits up despite day after day of not seeing much progress. You deserve some tart, too! :)

  6. So sorry to hear of your painful situation and I hope it will be short-lived. I always enjoy your blog and the wonderful recipes you share. I’ll be sending you healing thoughts.

  7. Sending lots of healing thoughts! Hope you’re getting better soon. In the meantime, it doesn’t seem to be affecting your ability to make amazing recipes! Take care and rest well xoxo

  8. Thinking of you tomorrow Hallie! This is a lovely tart, I have one like this ripped from Simply GF Mag :) Now I really need to make it!

  9. Praying for your speedy recovery!

    I know that a Medjool date is larger than a regular date, but can regular dates be used in recipes calling for Medjool? Also, do you think my VitaMix could be used for blending this or would my food processor be better?

  10. Diane: Yes, you can try using regular dates. They aren’t quite as sticky, so you may need a few more to get the dough to hold together. A food processor works best for the crust, but the filling can be made in either the food processor or the VitaMix.

  11. This looks amazing Hallie – right up my flavor alley :)

  12. Looks like a delicious desert for summer time. Sounds pretty healthy too since it has banana in it. Thanks for sharing!

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