An eastern European classic meets an east Asian staple. The traditional aromatics, like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, have been replaced by their sweet, fragrant Chinese counterparts.
- ½ cup (1 package) cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup plus 4 Tbsp (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp chinese five-spice, ground
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup jam
- In a large metal bowl, combine cream cheese and ½ cup butter until smooth (use an electric mixer or mix it by hand).
- Slowly stir in the flour and salt until the mixture is well combined but not uniform. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 °F.
- Pour sugar in a pan and turn heat on medium-low. Slowly melt the sugar, stirring often with a wooden or metal spoon. When it is liquid, add ground spices and 2 Tbsp. butter. Toss the walnuts in the butter/sugar mixture until they are coated evenly. Lay them out on a piece of aluminum foil to cool. When cool, chop roughly.
- Remove the dough from the fridge.
- On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an 8 by 10 inch rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spread the jam along the long edge of the dough, covering only one half. Make sure to leave a margin of at least a ½ inch on each side. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the jam.
- Roll the strudel, lengthwise, all the way to the edge. Pinch the sides to close. Brush with 1 Tbsp. melted butter. Cut a few slits on the top of the strudel.
- Put the strudel in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until brown. Brush with the remaining butter periodically.
- Remove from the oven, let cool, and slice into rounds.