Dallas Arboretum expanding to add tasting garden

The Dallas Arboretum is not just for flowers. It's digging a garden to grow fruits and vegetables and teach North Texans all about healthier eating.

The new 520-acre farm-to-table tasting garden costs about $8 million. It will include fruits, vegetables and herbs, plus an orchard and vineyard.

But it's not just about producing food. Visitors will learn to cook as well. The garden will feature a 3,600-square-foot pavilion with a dining room and teaching kitchen overlooking the garden and lake.

Workers will break ground on A Tasteful Place at the Arboretum on Monday. It is expected to be complete next fall.

For now, the Arboretum is encouraging visitors to come out for its big pumpkin festival. More than 90,000 pumpkins will decorate the grounds for Autumn at the Arboretum from Sept. 17 to Nov. 23.

Gardening and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith stopped by Good Day Monday to talk about the event and share a special pumpkin brulee recipe.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

At Moss Mountain Farm October brings autumn leaves, brilliant blue skies and the colorful blooms of aster, salvia and goldenrod. In the vegetable garden pumpkins are ready for harvest. I'm a big fan of pumpkins for decorating and for cooking so I make sure to have plenty around. It's amazing all the ways you can prepare pumpkin beyond the traditional pumpkin pie. There's pumpkin soup and pumpkin martinis, and recently I had the pleasure of preparing this pumpkin crème brûlée at a Viking Cooking School demonstration in Greenwood, MS.

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
9 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1 pinch ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

You will need 8 ½-cup ramekins or custard cups.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. You will know the cream is ready when small bubbles start to form on the edge of the pan and the top of the cream has started to ripple. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the duck egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add ¾ cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. This is referred to as tempering the mixture and prevents it from cooking the eggs. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. You will notice that there may be some of the pumpkin left behind. Divide among the ramekins.

Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until chilled or overnight.

Sprinkle each crème brûlée with ½ teaspoon of sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar or use your oven broiler until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Rotate the cup every two minutes to avoid burning.