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.
Cocoa CustardRecipe adapted from Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 25 minutes (plus 3 hours to chill)