This story is part of our Best Pastry Chefs of 2013 feature.

The beloved pastry chef of San Francisco's State Bird Provisions maintains a pared-down menu of only four rotating items: a granita, a cake or tart, a pudding and an ice cream sandwich. But from this tight sugar square emerge some of the most inventive and delicious desserts in the country.

The key: balance. Krasinski has a gift for juggling multiple balls, whether it's on the plate, running the business with her husband (and the restaurant's chef), Stuart Brioza, or being mom to two-year-old Jasper.

Krasinski uses cocoa instead of chocolate in her take on classic pudding, which she first started making while she was pastry chef at San Francisco's now-shuttered Rubicon. "The flavor of cocoa has an acid note that really balances the sugar in a way that chocolate doesn't. And the smell of cocoa cooking in the oven makes everyone go nuts," she says.