Combine first 3 ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in 3 cups milk. Heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil).
Combine remaining 1 cup milk and yolks; stir with a whisk. Gradually add 1 cup hot milk mixture to yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add egg yolk mixture to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until mixture cools, stirring occasionally. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled. Mash 2 bananas; cut remaining 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stir mashed and sliced bananas and half of gingersnaps into pudding; chill 30 minutes.
Combine cream and 1 teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form; stir in bourbon, if desired.
Spoon 2/3 cup pudding into each of 8 dessert glasses; divide remaining gingersnaps among servings. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons whipped cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons pecans, and 3/4 teaspoon ginger.
I made this for a New Year's eve dinner I hosted. It came out yummy, but I have to say that the instructions don't seem to make sense. Step number 2 seems to try and do the same thing with the remaining milk and yolk mixture twice. Maybe I'm misreading, but it doesn't read right. I was nervous it wouldn't come out right after reading the 1st review, but it was very yummy!
This pudding tasted great! The only thing that held it back from getting 5 stars was that it did not set up like it should. It was more soup than pudding. I followed the recipe exactly and even used a thermometer to make sure I hit 180 degrees. Maybe it was operator error. I would be willing to try it again.
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