1 ½cupsraw pecan halves, plus 1 cup for spiral topping if desired
Maldon sea salt, for serving
Make your pie dough if you haven't already. Let the dough sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (ideally overnight), or up to 3 days. After rolling and crimping your dough in your pie dish, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.
Fill an oven-safe baking bag with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights. Place the bagged beans in the crust-lined pie dish. Or, line your pie dough with heavy duty aluminum foil and fill to the crust's lip with pie weights, dry beans, or sugar. Depending on how much time you have and your personal preference, you can blind bake lower and slower or higher and faster (I've tried both methods with success). Low and slow: Blind bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Higher and faster: Blind bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then remove the bagged beans or foil and pie weights, and return the crust to the oven to bake 5 minutes more.
Remove the bagged beans or foil and pie weights, and set the crust aside, leaving it on the baking sheet while you prepare your filling. (I like to bake my pies on a baking sheet versus directly on the oven rack in case there is any leakage or spillage.)
Leave the oven at 350°F, or if you blind baked at 400°F, reduce your oven temp to 350°F. Place 1 1/2 cups of pecan halves on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted, or microwave for 1 minute at 60% power. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine eggs, dark brown sugar, golden syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt, and whisk well to combine. Gradually whisk in the butter so you don’t scramble your eggs.
Arrange the pecans on the bottom of the pie crust and pour the filling overtop. If desired, set about 1 cup of raw pecans (not toasted) in a spiral pattern on top of the filling. Bake the pie for about 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is set but still jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle nudge. Let your pie cool and set for an hour before serving. Top with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes and serve with vanilla ice cream or whip cream.
*If you can't find Lyle's Golden Syrup, you can use honey, or you can use 3/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup maple syrup (the darker the better).
For a thicker filling, whisk in 1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch with the eggs before you add any other ingredients.
If you choose to blind bake at 350°F, you can toast your pecans while you do this, to save time.
You can make your pie dough 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator, or use frozen pie dough (just allow a day so it can thaw in the fridge). You can make the pie up to 3 days in advance (store at room temperature).