To caramelize sugar, melt the 1-1/3 cups sugar in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, shaking the skillet occasionally. When the sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until sugar is golden brown. Remove skillet from heat; immediately pour the caramelized sugar into eight ungreased 6-ounce custard cups. Holding cups with pot holders, quickly tilt to evenly coat bottoms of cups.
Place cups in two 2-quart square baking dishes. Stir together eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, the 1/2 cup sugar, pumpkin pie spice, orange peel, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture over caramelized sugar in cups. Place the baking dishes on the oven rack. Pour boiling water into the baking dishes around cups to a depth of 1 inch.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centers comes out clean. Remove cups from water. Cool slightly on wire rack. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
To serve, loosen edges of custards with a knife, slipping the point of a knife down the sides to let in air. Invert a dessert plate over each custard, turn cup and plate over together. Scrape the caramelized sugar that remains in cup onto the custard. If desired, garnish with pomegranate seeds. Makes 8 servings.