In 2012, Uma Iyer got her first oven. It was a gift from her husband for her 30th birthday. She’s been baking ever since and is now the proud owner and baker of Tart-a-licious, “a one-of-a-kind French pastry destination that specializes exclusively in tarts and is constantly experimenting with flavor combinations.”
I meet Uma at Plano Profile HQ at 15th and Independence in Plano. “I bake right across the street,” she exclaims. We’re located in a quiet office park and on the other side of 15th is a business park that’s home to Chamberlain Ballet, QQ Teahouse, JC’s Burgers, Taco Delite and Chelles Macarons. “I share the kitchen with Chelles Macarons,” she explains. “They rent the kitchen out to other bakers.”
Uma was born and raised in India but moved to Cupertino, California in 2012. “In India we don’t have built-in ovens, so we didn’t bake much,” she says. It was only after many hours spent watching Masterchef Australia that her husband decided to gift her an oven. “Baking became a passion and a release from the humdrum of an otherwise ‘engaging’ corporate career,” Uma says on her website, tartalicious.com.
Uma soon became the default baker for family and friends and decided to quit her day job to become a full-time baker. At her first public debut at Cupertino Farmers Market in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, her tiny tarts were a big hit. “All one hundred tarts were sold out in less that one hundred minutes,” she says.
When I dig into my first Tart-a-licious tart I can see why. They are delicious, but not overly sweet. I first indulge in the lemon cream with blueberries and it packs a strong lemon punch, surprisingly tangy in the most perfect way. I also try the pecan and caramel which is sweeter yet bursting with flavor. They are both equally creamy and light with a crispy delicate pastry crust. They are also small. “My philosophy is: Indulge, but in small quantities,” says Uma.
And because I’m not Plano Profile‘s top food writer, I give Alex Cronin, our senior editor, the white chocolate mousse with strawberries. It’s met with her approval. “Each tart is a little two-bite art project,” says Alex. “A strawberry tart has has just enough room for one strawberry and a dome of mousse, so if that’s all you get, you’d better hope it’s perfect. Thankfully, if these aren’t perfect, they’re pretty darn close. Mine lasted about five seconds.”