A bold blue house might grab anyone’s attention when driving through a residential neighborhood with white, stone and brick houses being the expectation. If that doesn’t do it when driving past 13455 W Colfax Ave, it might be the cute water well placed right along the driveway or the pristine yellow bike with a basket equipped to hold a long baguette, a vibrant bouquet and other farmers market finds. The picnic-ready mini whitebarred gazebo seems to be pulled straight out of the french countryside, adding to the entire aesthetic of the residence. But acting as a home is only a part-time job for this estate. The driveway to the garage isn’t a place for parking but rather the entrance to a patisserie called Parfait Co.
The patisserie’s owner, Svetlana (Yeva) Pankrutskaya, never has to worry about waking up extra early to her morning community to work or the dreadful traffic to get home after a long day. She simply walks over to her garage where her office desk and highly equipped kitchen greet her. Rather than storing bikes, sports equipment and old junk waiting for trash day, she has multiple blast freezers, a lamination machine, a glistening glass display case, mixers, a convection oven and all the necessities of a baking oasis.
However, Pankrutskaya didn’t need extra room for baking chocolate chip cookies or brownies – Crumbl down the street is enough. This extensive kitchen gets put to work daily bringing together avant-garde desserts to the Golden area. Extraordinary, unique, and innovative are a few ways to describe the finished products. Each dessert has more elements than layers in a birthday cake, which showcases Pankrutskaya’s dedication to her craft.
After attending Johnson and Wales for culinary school, Pankrutskaya left knowing one thing, “It was my chocolate professor from Berlin that said if I really want to learn, I had to travel to Europe,” said Pankrutskaya. She spent four months exploring and staging at Michelin-recognized restaurant – Café Louitpold.
“The importance of traveling went beyond seeing modern techniques, it showed a new standard of work. The demand it takes for being the best and growing constantly motivates me,” said Pankrutskaya.
She returned to Denver and worked in the pastry department at many local restaurants. Sadly, her spirit that loved innovating and experimenting lost out to the visions of others. Pankrutskaya had her own belief in standards and creation that she knew would only come to life under her own management. With a bachelor’s business degree on her wall and another stint in school – this time at The French Pastry School in Chicago – her own patisserie was begging to be built.
This project may have seemed daunting to some. But fearlessly, Pankrutskaya started working long hours in restaurants at the age of 11. She lived for the adrenaline rush that came from this difficult industry. Her long hours haven’t seemed to subside yet, as the process of making some individual desserts and cakes have components that take hours of diligent work and chilling to be ready for assembly. Fortunately, Pankrutskaya’s patience and perseverance serve her ability to go beyond her comfort zone in all of her pastry endeavors.
As the owner and sole employee of Parfait Co, Pankrutskaya values perfection from the look of each pastry down to the ingredients that comprise its core. She uses Valrhona French Chocolate – a vendor that evaluates every ingredient, especially cacao beans, extensively. She imparts flavor through natural sources rather than lab-created extracts. Valrhona dark chocolate boasts a deep earthy flavor, the passion fruit flavor has a tartness that doesn’t cloud the cocoa butter base and Pankrutskaya even uses one that has the rich molasses taste of cookie butter. Her wholesome list of ingredients features cocoa, fruit and cream instead of fillers, chemicals and sugars.
Parfait Co’s menu features new pastries every few weeks. The current menu has Ananas ($8.75) – french for pineapple – which combines the flavors of summer with the backbone of french patisseries, chocolate. A pineapple and Madagascar vanilla confit and dulcey chocolate cremeux create lines of swirls decorating the top. They conceal both chocolate and a passion fruit mousse. This version of a tart has an almond biscuit bottom but rising around the sizes to hold the dessert together is a thin layer of chocolate with fruittine – crystals of crunchy crepe shards – peaking out.
Rather than candy bars, Parfait Co has Le Chocolat ($8) and Genevieve ($7.50) to choose from. Le Chocolat is a dark airy chocolate mousse that sits atop a crisp chocolate biscuit. The dulcet chocolate cremeux offers a more sophisticated rendition of the buttery caramel that often comes in a candy bar. The salty notes round out the flavor. It highlights the richness in the cocoa nibs that give texture to the chocolate enrobing the entire bar.
The typical combination of chocolate and fruit stays limited to strawberries and raspberries. But Pankrutskaya goes rogue when it comes to flavor combinations. Parfait Co imparts aromatics with lemongrass and ginger appearing in her Genevieve dessert. Crystalized ginger pieces are in the base biscuit while lemongrass adds citrus notes to the apple compote. They brighten the additional whipped white chocolate ganache and mousse.
The clean finish on an entremet cake exceeds buttercream or fondant. A traditional cake often features three repeating cake layers. An entremet is a dessert torte that works to combine multiple distinct flavors and techniques into five layers. One layer is cake or a baked component that’s not overpowering. The other possible mousses, gelees, creams and custards work together creating one collective bite. One of Parfait Co’s current entremets – Solstice ($55) begins with a soft pistachio biscuit sitting on a milk chocolate base. It holds orange gelee and lime custard. The signature element, the mousse is orange blossoms and conceals all the inner elements.
Parfait corresponds with layers, as rudimentary as fruit and cream, but Pankrutskaya layers reach far beyond the ordinary. Her desserts reach unmatched heights and layers that each add their own pivotal flavor and texture to make the final bite just right. Pankrutskaya strives for perfection, which is the definition of Parfait in french. This mindset began her journey and is the direction she is destined for.
While the blue cottage feel fits the look Pankrutskaya wants out of her patisserie, she hopes to eventually find a new and permanent spot.
Parfait Co is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pankrutskaya also takes specialty orders on her website. Walk-ins are not accepted but appointments for browsing can be made right before entry.