Try as I might, I couldn't get Urth Caffé to share the recipe for their award-winning, outrageously good pumpkin pie with us. To be fair, co-founder Shallom Berkman did actually take the time to get back to me, but sadly the response also came with the old “It's a family recipe” chestnut. He went on to say, “I believe it is the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted… Urth is a worthy institution to support by enjoying purchasing your pumpkin pies from us.”

Not that he's biased. And not that we'd even be able to get our hands on any pumpkins to make the damned thing, if this week's doom-and-gloom headlines are to be believed. (“Pumpkin shortage imperils holiday pies” made me chuckle, while “Pie-maker alert: Grocers say canned pumpkin shortage is coming” verged on apocalyptic.)

Which then begs the question, if there's a national shortage (due to heavy rains), won't Urth themselves be left high and dry? Not according to Berkman, who optimistically claims, “I believe we have enough–although we are expecting to bake 2,000 pies this year.”

However, if the worst should happen and your local grocery does sell out, stay calm, take deep breaths, and remember that there are alternatives, chief among them pumpkin/pumpkin pie ice cream, such as this fine specimen from McConnell's. Granted, it's not as comforting as a big wodge of pie, but it'll do in a pinch.

And–dare we mention it?–there's always Pumpkin Spice Jell-O. We predict bidding wars and fistfights in the aisles over the last packet, just you wait and see.

LA Weekly