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 The traditional aromatics, like cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, have been replaced by their sweet, fragrant Chinese counterparts.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.