Editor’s note: For 12 days leading up to Christmas, St. George News is featuring staff members’ favorite holiday recipes. Here’s the latest installment.

ST. GEORGE — Add a dash of cinnamon to your holiday with this decadent dessert.

Cinnamon flan waits to be eaten, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 15, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

Flan is a custard dessert made with eggs that solidifies into a creamy “gel” when baked. The dish has traveled the globe, originating in the Roman Empire during an egg surplus.

Initially, most iterations were savory, but sweeter variations were created as the recipe spread across Europe via Roman conquerors, according to Cheesecake.com. Spaniards were the first to add caramel and are believed to have introduced the dessert to Mexico.

Flan wasn’t always a staple in my family. Once upon a time, I’d never heard of it. I discovered flan in the cafeteria during my first year of college. It was placed neatly in a plastic container and dressed in golden-brown caramel sauce — an unassuming little treat surrounded by pies and decorated cakes.

Cinnamon flan waits to be eaten, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 15, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

I tried it and never looked back.

I learned to make flan that same year, over a decade ago. Not only is it now a must-have dish each year at Christmas dinner, but I make extra to take with me as I visit other family members — a task not taken lightly. When traveling with flan, please pack it with its signature caramel sauce in mind or face the sticky consequences.

My niece Sam Settles often helps me make this creamy dessert, assisting me in deciding what new flavors to try, including cinnamon, chocolate and, regrettably, mint. She said one of the best parts of eating flan is cutting into it.

“Looking at it is equally as satisfying as eating it … it’s the perfect mix of creamy, rich and sweet,” she said.

Cinnamon flan


This recipe makes 4-6 mini flans in ramekins, depending on how much you pour into each dish:

12-ounce can of evaporated milk
14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar


Swirl the melted sugar around to evenly coat the bottom of the ramekin, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 14, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

Add the sugar to a saucepan to melt using low-to-medium heat. The biggest mistake you could make early on is walking away from the pan. Watch it closely to avoid burning the sauce and creating a bitter flavor.

“Making flan can be super hard because you can mess it up really easily,” Settles said.

I stir the sugar somewhat continuously for this reason and remove it from the stove immediately once melted. However, others advise against stirring to avoid creating a melty sugar ball at the end of your spoon.

Carefully pour the sauce into your chosen dish, swirling it around to coat the bottom evenly. The sugar solidifies quickly, so act fast! Warming the ramekins before pouring is helpful.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix pre-beaten eggs (using a blender for this is helpful), evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.

Cinnamon flan waits to be eaten, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 15, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

Once the mixture is smooth, let it rest for a few minutes to reduce the number of air bubbles. Pour it into the prepared ramekins and cover them with foil. For even cooking, fill a deep baking dish with an inch or so of hot water and add the ramekins.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Start checking your flan after about 35 minutes by sticking a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s ready. Overcooking custard can create a bubbly, curdled texture rather than the smooth creaminess you’re looking for.

Once removed from the oven, let it cool at room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight.

To eat, turn it upside down on a plate.

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