Pastry maker Khalissshah Iman breaks away from the norm to create innovative delights
KHALISSHAH IMAN creates a variety of decadent homemade tarts, instead of the typical cakes, cupcakes or pastries made by other home bakers.
She creates tarts with an array of exciting flavours that include the classic Citron (a key lime tart with passion fruit filling topped with buttercream), and several chocolate flavours such as the rich Valhorna Chocolate, with layers of hazelnut pralines with Guanaja ganache (dark chocolate).
She makes the desserts in a wide range of flavours, such as mouth-watering cheese tarts, and refreshing Summer Berries, layered with a crunchy chocolate base and a hint of desiccated coconut, strawberry ganache, chantilly cream and fresh fruits.
But she does not stop there. She experiments with and explores new flavours, resulting in her Tropical Tart with coconut and passion fruit, or the Lotus Biscoff Tart.
Her talent and skills are further highlighted by the stunning designs on her tarts made using cream, handcrafted fondant figurines, royal icing and fruit toppings.
On why she chose to make tarts instead of cakes or cupcakes, Khalisshah said: “I have always been a fan of tarts. There aren’t many local bakers who do it. I decided to bake tarts instead of cakes, as I wanted to break away from the idea of only having cakes for special occasions.
“I hope to show our local bakers that we can get creative and innovative with tarts.”
The 26-year-old graduated from the YTL School of Hotel Management and worked with JW Marriot KL for five years before turning her passion into a tarts business, which started getting recognition after the launch of her signature Lotus Biscoff Tart.
“We offer various flavours, sizes and custom-made tarts for birthdays, engagements or just as a treat. We also curate seasonal tarts.
“[Last month] we launched our Halloween Special, the Spooky Box. Each tart is made with the finest ingredients such as Lescure cream, Lurpak butter and Philadelphia cheese.”
Khalissah’s business is also sort of a family affair, with her family members helping out when needed. Her sister, Zahirah Yasmin, who has just returned from New Zealand after working there for three years, lends a hand whenever possible
.What inspired you to make tarts?
“Honestly, it wasn’t planned. I wanted to study fashion but ended up doing pastries, which was quite a jump. But ever since I started, I just couldn’t stop learning and creating pretty things.”
Where did you learn to make tarts?
“At my previous workplace. My seniors were kind enough to teach me from A to Z. We had at least one type of tart in our Hi-Tea menu, which changes daily, and that was how I developed my skills in tart-making.”
When did you develop a passion for tarts?
“Back in 2018 at my previous workplace, where we were making hundreds of tarts daily and that was the only pastry item. I didn’t complain about making them. I found that the limitless flavours and designs we could come up with were very exciting.”
How do you come up with designs to decorate your tarts?
“I love making pretty things in pastry, fashion and arts. I love creating designs that I can relate to – modern and yet still with the homely touch to it. I spend a lot of my time doing research on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.”
What is your signature flavour?
“I must say it’s our Lotus Biscoff Tart. I had a hard time figuring the design as I wanted it to look modern without losing the Lotus Biscoff signature look. I’m happy to say, I
What sets your tarts apart from others?
“Having your own identity is very important in this business. I get these inspirations from so many other bakers but it’s how I put my own touch to it. Originality is important to me.”
What is the most challenging part of making tarts?
“I must say it’s finding the right recipe for the perfect crust. I use different recipes for each size and shape. I’ve lost count of the number of times I did R&D.”
What was your most memorable moment and greatest challenge?
“My most memorable moment has to be my first online order. I still remember her name and her order as if it was yesterday. My most challenging moment was our first Christmas last year. I spent sleepless nights trying to connect the flavours and designs so that they had a story to tell. We were nervous about the feedback as it was a new experience for us.”
What is your future plan?
“At the moment, Poppy Cherry Pop is a family-based business. We are constantly learning and expanding our business little by little.
Hopefully, once things start to get better, we plan to have baking classes. I enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge. Who knows, maybe one day we will have our own bakery shop in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.”
Visit Poppy Cherry Pop’s Instagram page (@popcherrypop) for more yummy designs and click on the Linktree for the menu and to order.