Cheryl Marks Young is a New Jersey food allergy awareness advocate and the creator and chief curator for The Allergy Ninja. Read her essay, “11 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Families with Severe Food Allergies,” here.

Need a fun summer dessert that someone with food allergies can enjoy? Use their favorite fruit and cookies to make this tart. The easy homemade pudding is dairy- and wheat-free.

Chocolate Pudding Fruit Tart

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For the pudding:

6 Tbs. cornstarch

¼ cup water

3 cups dairy-free milk

½ cup sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until it forms a paste.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk, sugar, cocoa, extract (if desired) and cornstarch paste. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency. Remove from heat; cool completely. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.

For the crust:

24 of your favorite crunchy cookies (such as graham crackers, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies or even chocolate crisps or chocolate creme sandwich cookies)

1 Tbs. light olive oil

Crush the cookies into crumbs using a food processor by or placing them inside a resealable plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and the oil until evenly mixed.

For the fruit layer:

8 large strawberries, thinly sliced

2 medium bananas, thinly sliced

1 cup of blueberries

You can substitute any thinly sliced fruit for these.

Assembling the tart:

Lightly grease the tart pan or pie dish.

Spread the cookie crumbs and oil mixture out in the pan to create the tart or pie shell. Press the shell up the sides of the pan as well as across the bottom. 

Spoon the pudding evenly into the tart or pie shell.  It is okay if the pudding is a little higher than the cookie shell.

Layer the sliced fruit on top of the pudding in any design you choose to create.  We usually make a pattern of rings with each ring made from a different fruit.

Refrigerate the tart for at least two hours before serving, so that the pudding is completely chilled.

You can add your favorite non-dairy topping or sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

Cheryl Marks Young is a food allergy awareness advocate, business and life coach, management consultant & growth strategist, best-silling author of the award-winning book "Love Your Life: Cultivating Your Vision and Tending Your Dreams," entrepreneur, coffee lover and kitchen chemist.

With over 30 years of experience across many different industries in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, she has a passion for creating solutions to help individuals, entrepreneurs, business owners and business teams survive and thrive in all aspects of their personal and professional journeys.  

Cheryl is the Creator and Chief Curator for The Allergy Ninja and the Founder of Creative Blueprints for Leaders. Cheryl also partners with CFO Studios to run the Successful Women in Finance Dinner Series in both New York and New Jersey. Cheryl currently serves as a board member for the New Jersey Mental Health Institute, Declarations, Inc., Fairleigh Dickinson University Center for Excellence and Temple Emanu-El of Westfield. Contact Cheryl directly at or 908-345-0382.

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