Meanwhile, sprinkle powdered gelatin over 1/4 cup buttermilk. Do not stir. Let bloom for 5 minutes, and then stir thoroughly into the hot cream mixture.
Strain the cream mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the ginger and vanilla bean. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk and stir gently.
Spray the inside of 6 ramekins with the non-stick spray. Divide mixture into ramekins or unsprayed serving glasses. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator.
Let the ramekins set for 8 hours or overnight, and carefully unmold onto dessert plates. Alternatively, chill the serving glasses for at least 3 hours and serve in glasses.
Garnish with a sliver of candied ginger and fresh mint.
4. Ginger Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger root (washed, unpeeled)
Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 1 hour.
Strain the syrup through a fine sieve, let cool, and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator up to two months.
5. Ginger Ale
"Once you taste a real, freshly made ginger ale, you'll never be able to go back to the canned variety. The thick sugar syrup (it's a basic simple syrup with equal quantities of sugar and water) will last a long time refrigerated. It's very fragrant with a 'bite' to it. It's takes just a minute to pour a small amount in a glass and thin it with sparkling water for a refreshing, bubbly drink. No preservatives, no coloring, just the goodness of ginger!"
1/4 cup ginger syrup
1 cup sparkling water
Pour syrup over ice cubes in a tall glass, add the sparkling water and a squeezed wedge of lime. Stir. (You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less syrup in proportion to the sparkling water.)