To make the crust: Chill the butter in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Pulse the pecans 6 to 7 times in a food processor or until finely ground. Add the flour and salt, and pulse an additional 4 to 5 times. Add the butter and pulse 6 to 7 times, until the texture looks mealy. Remove the lid of the food processor, add the water and bourbon, and pulse 5 to 6 times until the mixture holds together when squeezed and feels like dough. Transfer the dough to a gallon-sized zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To assemble and bake the pie: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk the eggs, sugar, golden syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla and salt together until combined. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut along two sides of the zip-top bag, open the bag to expose the dough and sprinkle both sides very lightly with flour. Cover with the bag and roll out with a rolling pin to an 11-inch circle. Open the bag again, and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Place the dough into a 9 1/2 to 10-inch tart pan that is 2 inches deep. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan, crimping and trimming the edges as necessary.
Evenly sprinkle the 6 ounces of chopped pecans in the crust and pour the filling on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Place the remaining 2 ounces of whole pecans in a border on the edge of the filling. Bake 10 minutes, until the center of the pie should reach 200 degrees F, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack to room temperature before serving, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the nuts in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add both sugars and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the nuts to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Can be stored for up to 3 weeks. Yield: 1 pound.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2011