Prepping the pumpkin purée:
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of sugar without any water over high heat. It's important to watch the sugar carefully; as soon as the edges of the pan start caramelizing, immediately add the pumpkin purée. Gently jiggle the saucepan in circles for about 3-4 minutes. The pumpkin mixture should be thick. Turn off the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, salt, 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon extract and allspice. Allow to cool completely.
Melting the vanilla chips:
Place a pot filled with hot water (at a gentle simmer), topped with a piece of cloth so the bowl does not move and place a stainless-steel bowl filled with the vanilla chips on top. Make sure the bowl circumference is larger than the pot, so there isn't any splatter of water in the vanilla chips. Slowly melt, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and add the remaining butter. Stir well. Set aside.
Prepping the mousse:
Whip the heavy cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Increase to maximum speed and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the texture will become grainy. Set aside.
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the remaining granulated sugar until they have thick texture. Place in a double boiler (a pot filled with hot water, covered with a piece of cloth) and place the bowl filled with whisked eggs on top). Whisk the eggs at full speed using an electrical mixer, for about 3-4 minutes. Check the temperature of the eggs; they should feel warm to the touch. Remove from the double boiler, add the butter pecan extract and continue whisking at full speed for about 5 minutes.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the egg mixture. Stir well. Pour 1/3 of the whipped cream into the pumpkin-egg mixture; gently stir to soften the batter. Pour in the rest of the whipped cream, using a wooden spoon, gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin to get an airy batter.
Place the filling in a piping bag. Pipe or spoon the filling into dessert cups. Level the filling with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and place the cups in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.
When you're ready to serve, pipe little mounds of butter pecan-whipped cream on top and decorate with a candied pecan. Dust with ground cinnamon, using a fine-mesh strainer.
Enjoy with a pumpkin spice latte.
You could also use pumpkin mousse as filling for a pie.
You could also make this dessert with leftover candied sweet potatoes, instead of pumpkin.
Optional: For added flavor, once the pecans are candied in maple syrup and are still warm, I sprinkled a blend of cayenne pepper (a pinch), salt (a pinch), paprika (¼ teaspoon), brown sugar (a teaspoon), ground cinnamon (½ teaspoon) and allspice (1/8 teaspoon).
I find butter and pecan extract at my local market but you can also find it online; you could replace it with vanilla extract or any other flavorings you like, such as cinnamon, maple, amaretto, brandy or even cognac.
I used Guittard vanilla chips that I bought directly from a local market but if you can't find any, you can replace them with white chocolate chips.
A pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the dessert and enhances its sweetness.
The recipe yields 8 (5-ounce) parfait glasses but the mini cups featured in the photos are 2-ounce dessert cups.
The dessert can be prepared 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.