In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half, 1/4 cup sugar, and ginger slices. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 10 minutes (reduce heat as necessary to prevent boiling). Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain, discarding ginger slices.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly whisk the warm cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Place four 5- or 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups in an 8-inch square baking pan. Set pan on an oven rack. Pour cream mixture into the ramekins. Pour enough hot water into the baking pan around the ramekins to reach halfway up the sides.
Bake in a 325F oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until custards are just set in centers. Remove custards from the water bath; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours
To serve, remove custards from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Prepare Caramelized Topper and spoon over custards. Makes 4 servings.
Place sugar in a heavy 8-inch skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar begins to melt, reduce heat to low and cook about 5 minutes more or until all of the sugar is melted and golden, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed. Quickly drizzle caramelized sugar over custards. Allow to stand a few minutes for caramelized sugar to set.