PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COVER baking sheet with aluminum foil; lay bacon on prepared baking sheet. Brush bacon on both sides with maple syrup; sprinkle with black pepper.
BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes, turning bacon over halfway through baking, or until crisp. Place bacon on paper towel lined plate to drain. Once cool, set aside 1/2 slice for garnish. Crumble or cut remaining 3 1/2 slices into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
MEANWHILE, HEAT vegetable oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until onion is tender and caramel in color. Remove from heat to cool.
COMBINE pumpkin, sour cream and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Add 3 1/2 slices of crumbled bacon and onion; stir well to combine. Crumble remaining 1/2 slice of bacon; sprinkle over top. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
SERVE with assorted mini pumpernickel or rye bread slices, crostini and/or crackers.