Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the softened butter over the bases and around the sides of four individual cocottes or ramekin dishes to coat them. Season the insides of the dishes well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Crack an egg into each dish, then spoon 2 tablespoons of the cream over the top of each. Place on a baking tray and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still quite soft.
Garnish as desired and serve at once with slices of crusty bread or hot, buttered toast.