Francois Payard has been making bûches de Noël since the ]80s. Now, Payard makes four varieties (available at his four Manhattan locations) each year, three of which are chocolate- and/or nut-based, and one that is fruit-based. "The fruit one is always the worst seller," Payard says. "But I don't know why. To me, it's the best." It's a labor of love too. Payard scrubs mandarin oranges with sugar cubes to extract the fruits' essential oils. Then he slowly melts those sugar cubes and folds the liquid into mandarin juice, cream, and eggs to make a cremeux. That and mandarin mousse are layered with white chocolate and rice crispies ("because I needed texture and thought it would be cool") to form the bûche. The filling is delicate, so Payard uses a pain de gene, which is like the traditional sponge cake used for bûches, but denser and sturdier. White chocolate stars, chocolate ribbons, candied oranges, and orange macarons are the finishing touches.