Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4.
Lightly butter 4 small casserole or ramekin dishes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the shallots and cook until soft but not coloured. Grill or griddle the bacon rashers and lay at the bottom of each dish with the softened shallots.
Crack eggs into ramekins, place 1 tablespoon cream over each egg, and sprinkle the cheese evenly between the 4 dishes. Stand the dishes in a roasting pan, half filled with hot water and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the whites are just set and the yolks still runny.
Garnish with a sprig of thyme on top.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home and view the full Food safety at home video.
If serving vulnerable groups, elderly people, toddlers, pregnant women and people who are unwell, cook eggs until the whites and yolks are solid.