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To make the pastry, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour, then use your hands to bring the mixture together into a dough. Remove from the bowl, wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 1 hr.
Roll the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin, then lift into a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Press the pastry into the base and sides of the tin, allowing any excess to hang over the sides. Put the tin on a baking sheet and chill for 30 mins.
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork. Line with baking parchment and baking beans and bake for 20 mins, then remove the parchment and beans and bake for 10-15 mins more until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before using a small serrated knife to trim away the excess pastry.
To make the filling, roughly chop or bash half the pecans and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl, then add the golden syrup, butter, salt, vanilla extract and bourbon, if using, and continue to whisk until everything is well combined. Add the pecans and mix again to thoroughly combine.
Pour the pecan filling into the pastry case and arrange the remaining whole pecans on top. Bake for 20 mins until evenly coloured – it should be lightly golden brown and set with a slight wobble when you gently shake the tin. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least 1 hr. Just before serving, whip the cream and maple syrup together to soft peaks and serve alongside the pie.