Heat sugar and butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the pecans and brown, turning to coat them evenly. Remove from heat and cool.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Combine all the wet ingredients and stir to mix. Combine the dry ingredients. Pour into the wet mixture and mix well. Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 20 minutes. Add the topping and bake another 10 minutes.