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Fig and Barley Pudding – Outlander on STARZ Episode 110

Fig and Barley Pudding – Outlander on STARZ Episode 110

Outlander on Starz

Jamie has helped to heal the rift between The Mackenzie and his war chief and Claire has taken him back to his bed. The only outstanding item on young Mr. Fraser’s list of things to do is to convince the Duke of Sandringham to help him clear his name.

Alas, as we book readers know, Jamie needs to watch his back(side) when engaging the help of the Duke.


Enter that magic potion of Mrs. Fitz’s, her centuries-old cure for costiveness, fig syrup.

While I’m always amongst the first to agree that good food is medicine, unfortunately fresh figs are months away from ripe for most of us in the Northern hemisphere, and therefore a batch of that most-effective syrup is beyond our reach.

Instead, I’ve chosen another traditional receipt, one that lends itself very nicely to the inclusion of a few figs…just in case the Duke comes prowling.

pot barley

Barley, and it’s more primitive relative, bere, has been grown for a millennium in the Highlands and Outer Isles. Its hardy stalks weathered the harsh northern climate, short growing season and low pH soil better than any other crop, even oats.

Barley porridge, in it’s most traditional form is nothing more than barley boiled in salt water, mixed with raisins and currants, and served with a bit of cream and honey.

If you really want to embrace the feeling of living in an 18th C croft, eating 18th C food, then I encourage you to boil up some barley and go for it. If you’re feeling particularly wealthy for a subsistence farmer, then you could soak your dried fruit in a wee dram of whisky before adding it to your barley porridge, I mean pudding.


My more modern version contains milk, cream and everything else that made 18th C food tasty. Citrus fruits were rare back then, but they were available…especially to a wealthy clan such as the MacKenzies.

And while Mrs. Fitz probably would have poured all of the ingredients into some cheesecloth and boiled it in a kettle set over the hearth, my stove top method is quicker, less messy, and a whole lot more conducive to modern life.

(Click on the title below for a printable recipe.)

Fig and Barley Pudding

: A creamy, wholesome treat, inspired by the past. Think rice pudding, with just a wee bit more texture.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • Pot or Pearl Barley – 1 Cup (see notes)
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Dried Figs, sliced – ½ Cup
  • Raisins – ½ Cup
  • Whisky – 2 Tble
  • Juice of Large Orange (about 2 Tble)
  • Milk – 1½ Cups
  • Honey – ¼ Cup
  • Light, Single or Coffee Cream (18-20% fat) – ½ Cup
  • Egg Yolk – 1
  • Zest of Large Orange (about 2 tsp)
  • Cinnamon – ½ tsp
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg – pinch

Boil 2 quarts of water in a large pan. When boiling, add the barley and the salt. Boil gently until tender, 20-30 minutes for pearl barley, 40-50 minutes for pot barley. Drain.

Meanwhile, soak the figs and raisins in the whisky and orange juice.

Return the hot barley to the pan, and mix in the milk, honey, soaked fruit and soaking liquid. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

Beat together the cream and egg yolk. Stir in the orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add this mixture to the barley, stirring quickly to combine. Cook another 2 minutes.

Serve hot, at room temp or cold, passing extra honey and cream to pour on top.

Ith do leòr! (Eat Plenty)


  • Both pearl and pot barley are polished in a pearling machine to remove the grain’s inedible outer hull. The pearl barley undergoes the process for longer to also remove the bran. The bran of pot barley remains intact, and therefore takes longer to cook.
  • Use all whisky or all orange juice to soak the figs and raisins if you prefer.
  • Zest the orange before you juice it — trust me…things will go a whole lot easier.
  • Do not buy pre-ground nutmeg – it’s tasteless. Buy whole nutmegs and grate as needed.


  1. Linda Strate
    April 6, 2015 at 5:16 am

    All can say is, making up is fun to do. Jamie found middle ground for Clair and himself.

  2. Anna Lapping
    April 6, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Well, that recipe was a surprise and it sounds delicious. My family is particularly fond of barley, so I’m sure this will become a favorite. I have dried figs from my trees and am always looking for new ways to use them.

  3. Sue Snyder
    April 6, 2015 at 7:28 am

    I am always looking for nutrient dense treats. This looks hearty and delicious!

  4. Susan O'Meara
    April 6, 2015 at 9:05 am

    While I Will keep this recipe with all your others barley is not a favorite no matter how it’s doctored with goodies. Oatmeal works for me.

    • Theresa
      April 6, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Make it with Oatmeal then. No need to do me any favours!

  5. Theresa
    April 6, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    this sounds great! Except the Orange… Not a fan of zest in anything, nor orange flavored. Can the liquid be made up with milk? Water? I suppose I could just add more whiskey…

    • Theresa
      April 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      you could up the soaking liquid with apple juice. Do you like lemon zest? Sub that instead.

  6. Kylie
    April 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Yum! I love figs! I am excited to make this and it is coming into the colder weather here in Australia so it couldn’t be a better time.

    • Kylie
      April 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      How would this recipe go with fresh figs? What alterations would I need to make?

    • Theresa
      April 7, 2015 at 6:10 am

      Ooh! Yum, you lucky lass! I would soak and add the raisins as instructed, but wait until the very end to throw in your fresh chopped figs.

  7. teri
    April 6, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Hi there. how can i watch this show in Canada if I don’t have a Television? HELP!!!!

    • Theresa
      April 7, 2015 at 6:09 am

      Up here in Canada, we’re lucky to be able to purchase the whole 1st season on iTunes. That’s how I watch it!

  8. Jody
    April 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    This sounds perfect for next episode. Made Atholl Brose for return of show. Since its like drinking oatmeal it’s healthy!!

  9. Marlen
    April 8, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I’m so going to make it his! Made barley risotto once and it was awesome…and here now something for my sweet tooth, perfect!!

  10. Bree
    April 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    would this work with a soy or almond milk and creamer? I have a dairy allergy.

    • Theresa
      April 8, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Don’t see why not!

  11. Janice Campbell Sims
    April 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I’m going out tomorrow to hunt down some figs. This sounds really good.

    • Tricia
      April 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Hi, Janice,
      On a somewhat related note, are you a member of Clan Campbell Society? Clan Campbell Society of North America’s website is

  12. Holly Bingham
    April 8, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I just love how the whiskey is used in the figs! I’ve been making pearl barley soup lately and love the thickness in the soup. Going to try this recipe this weekend. Thanks!

  13. Glenna MacDonald
    April 8, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    This recipe sounds good! At what point do you add the soaked fruit?


    • Theresa
      April 8, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Oops! I’ll edit now. Thank you!

  14. Evelyn
    April 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Am I missing something? When do I add the figs & raisins into the barley mixture? Do I also add the whiskey & orange juice?

    • Theresa
      April 8, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Fixed now. 🙂

  15. MC
    April 8, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    “Zest the orange before you juice it — trust me…things will go a whole lot easier.”

    I truly love your sense of humor. 😉

  16. Barbara Harmony
    April 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I’m wondering how this might be with tapioca instead of barley.

    • Theresa
      April 8, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      Definitely worth a try!

    • Barbara Harmony
      April 8, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Saturday night for Outlander S2E2, the Old ‘Fig’ Garden Girls are gathering once again and planning ‘Fig’ & Tapioca pudding with a nice Cab. Stay tuned. Definitely worth a try!!

  17. Lauren Cramer
    April 8, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    ex husband was a chef – and one of the best (only) parts of our marriage aside from two Bonnie lassies … Was training in the kitchen. Absolutely going for this recipe and will make sure there’s plenty of whisky for the pudding as well as for the process

  18. Kathi Zale
    April 9, 2015 at 6:29 am

    I love barely and have been looking for ways to use it. Something sweet and healthy for breakfast is just the ticket. Thank you .

  19. Tom Walker
    April 9, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Gabhaibh mo leisgeul, keep your hands off my whisky.

    • Theresa
      April 9, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      You’re excused.

  20. Jennifer
    April 10, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for another wonderful adventure! I’m planning on surprising my viewing partners on Sat night with your creation.

  21. Jen
    April 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Barley pudding has been one of my husband’s favorite recipes. We grow our own barley and roast it. The dehulling can be a bit of work but the end result is rewarding. I’m not a huge fan of barley pudding myself (I think it’s more of a texture thing for me rather then flavor) but this stuff is my husband’s favorite! Thank you for sharing such a traditional and authentic recipe!

    • Theresa
      April 10, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Very cool, Jen!

  22. Deb
    April 10, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Can I use fig jam? Have some in freezer…

    • Theresa
      April 10, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Sounds like a plan to me! Maybe top each portion with a dollop just before you serve? If you cook it it will break up and possibly give you a muddy looking pudding.

  23. Diane
    April 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I couldn’t find light cream so I bought half-n-half. I now see that doesn’t have as high a fat percentage. Will the recipe still work with the half-n-half?

    • Theresa
      April 11, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Yes! It will be fine. Just make sure it doesn’t boil after you add the cream and yolks

    • Diane
      April 12, 2015 at 8:13 am

      It was more than fine! Oh my, we all just LOVED the fig & barley pudding. The chewiness of the barley and the pleasant bitterness of the orange zest and the, well, figginess of the figs – YUM! I love trying unique new recipes. Thanks for doing what you do, fellow Outlander junkie!

    • Theresa
      April 12, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Diane, that makes me so happy! I got a lot of “yucks” for this recipe…there aren’t many fans of rice puddings or the like anymore. I’m so glad your group enjoyed it!

  24. Lesanne Fliehler
    April 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Made this last weekend and enjoyed it with a friend during the “By the Pricking of My Thumbs” episode. Love the figs in this! Well, basically, it was all good, but I’d never used the dried figs in anything before. I did not use the whiskey, but next time I may. Keep up the great work in the kitchen, Theresa!

  25. Romy
    April 18, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Made this a few moments ago and I’m really surprised! It tasted amazing! I’ve never eaten rice pudding or something like that before since it seems to be a rare thing here in Germany but I really like the texture of this pudding!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!
    Greetings Romy

  26. Bird Lady
    April 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Verra goooood, Lass! I made it with chopped apricots instead of raisins.
    The directions did not say when to add the dried fruit, so I added it after I stirred in the milk and honey and let it cook for 10 minutes.
    It turned out great. We enjoy the chewiness of the barley.

  27. Bird Lady
    April 21, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    P.S. I clicked on the title and used the “printable version.” It did not receive your update re: adding fruit.

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Oops! I got busy and forgot. Will do today. Thanks!

  28. Lizzie
    June 14, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    This looks delicious! Would you mind saying where those mugs are from? They’re beautiful.

    • Theresa
      June 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      They were a gift from a friend who is an awesome thrift-store shopper, Lizzie. They have no marks or identifiers.

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