How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the sugar with the water. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down the pan's side to remove any sugar. Cook over moderately high heat until an amber caramel forms, about 8 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the cream and milk. Cover over moderate heat, stirring, until the caramel is smooth, about 1 minute.
In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree with the 6 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk in the hot caramel cream.
Pour the pudding into twelve 1/8-cup ramekins set in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and cut 4 small slits in the top. Bake the puddings for about 40 minutes, or until the centers are just set. Remove the puddings from the water bath. Let cool on a wire rack then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 11/2 hours.
Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whip the 6 egg whites with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt. Whip until the sugar has dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water bath. Beat the whites until stiff, glossy peaks form, 6 minutes. Spread the meringue in swirls over the pudding. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until golden, and serve.