PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F. Prepare the brussels sprouts by cutting a thin slice off the root end of each and then cutting an X in that end so it cooks evenly inside and out. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, blanch sprouts until they are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, refresh in ice cold water, and drain again. (Do not let the sprouts sit in water for more than a minute.) Saute bacon until limp, not crisp. Drain and coarsely chop. Mix the sprouts and bacon together and spread the mixture in a buttered gratin dish. Pour cream over the sprouts-bacon mixture and dot with bread crumbs and butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot.