• 1 envelope (¼ oz.) unflavored gelatin powder
• 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin (not pie filling)
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1½ cups well-chilled heavy cream
• 4 tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, extra for buttering the pan
• 3 large eggs
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup cake flour
• ? tsp. kosher salt
• ¼ tsp. cinnamon
• ? tsp. nutmeg
• ? tsp. ground cloves
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup brandy or cognac
• ½ cup pecan pieces
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 pint caramel ice cream, softened
To make the mousse, put ¼ cup cold water in a small heat-proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sugar. Meanwhile, set the bowl of softened gelatin over a pan of simmering water and cook until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin/gelatin mixture. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
To make the spice cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and then line bottom of 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at each end. Butter paper.
Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over mediumlow heat, melt ¼ cup butter. Do not stir, but watch carefully. Eventually, solids will drop to bottom of pan. When they are dark brown, remove butter from heat and strain through cheesecloth into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool until lukewarm.
In the metal bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together eggs and sugar. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to touch, about 3 minutes. Return bowl to mixer base. Using whisk attachment, beat at high speed until mixture has tripled in volume and has consistency of softly whipped cream (about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on mixer). While eggs are being beaten, sift cake flour, salt and spices into a bowl and set aside.
When eggs have tripled in volume, turn off mixer and remove bowl from stand. Sift onethird of flour mixture over eggs and use a rubber spatula to fold in gently. Sift and fold in remaining flour in two more additions. Stir 1 cup of batter into browned butter. Quickly fold butter mixture into remaining batter until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle of oven until top is browned and cake shrinks away from sides of pan, about 12 to 15 minutes. Invert onto rack, peel off parchment and cool.
To make the brandy syrup, in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir sugar with ¼ cup water until sugar has dissolved. Add brandy. Let cool and refrigerate, covered.
To prepare pecans, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add pecans and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 3 minutes.
To serve, trim ? inch from around edges of cake. Cut cake into 16 squares. Put ¼ cup mousse in bottom of each of 8 glasses and spread slightly. Sprinkle ½ tablespoon pecans over mousse and add a square of cake. Brush cake with brandy syrup. Lightly spread 1 tablespoon softened ice cream over cake in each glass. Repeat one more layer as before, except for ice cream. Instead, form an oval scoop of ice cream to top trifle: using two metal serving spoons, scoop ice cream with one spoon and put other spoon over top of ice-cream-filled spoon to mold. Repeat for remaining glasses. Serves 8.