Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com.

It’s not too early to mark your October calendar for Zoo Boo at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero. The event will take place on Oct. 23, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. There will be carnival games, Halloween activities, tricks, and treats!

Start planning your best costume and bring the whole family to a not-so-scary and wild night at the Zoo. The event is sponsored by Pure Pediatric Dentistry, Placer Title, American West Tire, and New Times.

Just a reminder that Quota of Atascadero is presenting their 43rd Annual Colony Days Reception this Sunday, Sept. 26, at 2 p.m., at ABC Church Fellowship Hall, 6225 Atascadero Avenue.

The reception is open to men and women age 55 years or older who have lived in Atascadero for at least 40 years or attended Atascadero schools and lived in SLO County for 40 years. Longtime residents will have time to reminisce and tell stories about growing up in Atascadero. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The reception will kick off a week of Colony Days activities and events leading up to the parade and other festivities on Saturday, Oct. 2. The Colony Days king, queen, and grand marshal of the parade will be introduced and honored as “Atascadero Royalty.”

Reservations are necessary and can be made by calling Dyann Shepard at (805)466-8602.

The recipe for today is from Bobby Flay’s 2001 cookbook titled “Bobby Flay Cooks American.”  

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Molasses Whipped Cream

Ingredients for pudding:

¾ cup raisins
1 cup dark rum
Unsalted butter
5 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup canned pumpkin puree (not preseasoned pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups heavy cream
1¾ cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out with the tip of a sharp knife
1 large or 2 small loaves brioche, cut into bite-size cubes and dried out overnight

For whipped cream:

1½ cups very cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

To make the pudding, place raisins and rum in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to let raisins plump. Drain raisins and discard rum.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together whole eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar until smooth. Add spices, salt, pumpkin, cream, milk, raisins, and vanilla seeds. Whisk until smooth. Add the bread. Stir gently to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes to let the bread soak. Scrape mixture into prepared dish. Set baking dish into a larger deep pan and place on center rack of the oven. Pour hot water into the larger pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of a smaller dish. Bake 50-60 minutes or until pudding is almost completely set (it should still move a little in the middle when you shake the pan). Remove and let cool for 30 minutes. 

For whipped cream, place all ingredients in a large bowl and whip to soft peaks. Serve on bread pudding.

Cheers!