Place the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Whisk until medium peaks are formed, 1 to 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree and milk. Add the pudding mix and vanilla and whisk to combine. Fold in the whipped cream and thoroughly combine. Transfer the mousse into 6 (7-ounce) dessert bowls or ramekins. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 before serving.
Coarsely chop the Spiced Pecans and sprinkle on top of the mousse just before serving.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add the sugars and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage.
Yield: 1 pound pecans
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2008