2 c. chilled whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar
2 TBS fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Place four 3/4-cup ramekins (or 4-inch-diameter fluted flan dishes) in a 9x13 cake pan.
Mix cream, sugar & ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan. Heat on medium setting until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer, stirring constantly. Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors, stirring often. Strain into large measuring cup or a gravy separator (works great for pouring later) to remove ginger & vanilla pieces. The vanilla beans are very small & will remain in the custard.
Whisk egg yolks in a small non-metal mixing bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in 1/2 of hot cream mixture just to blend. Return egg/cream blend to remaining cream in measuring cup; pour evenly among ramekins.
Pour enough hot water into cake pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully transfer pan to oven.
Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Remove custards from water bath to wire racks; cool 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
To serve: Sprinkle 2 tsp granulated sugar evenly over each custard top. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold creme brulee torch so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns evenly, about 2 minutes.
Refrigerate, if desired, until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours but no longer than 4 hours so that topping doesn't soften.