Meet Maddy McMurray, as we explore her world to discover stories, memories of her culinary journey — and how to make her crowd’s favourite orange ginger pie
May we have you do an introduction about yourself and what do you do as your full-time job?
Hello! My name is Maddy McMurray, I’m 36 years old and a true Los Angeles native. I manage an Italian restaurant here in LA called Osteria La Buca, and I have a small cottage business baking desserts out of my home.
When did you discover your interest and how did you start baking?
I have loved food and cooking for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents are avid cooks and my best memories are cooking with them as a child. When I got older, I sought out anything that would teach me about food—I’ve worked in restaurants since I was a teenager, worked with several food-based non-profits, I majored in food-based anthropology in college. I found baking to be a playful way of incorporating all of my different food-based interests in that it allows for a lot of creative freedom—it’s decadent and celebratory, fun by nature. I was often tasked with making birthday cakes for friends or bringing dessert to dinner parties, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I decided to try selling them. It’s still a side job but has been very rewarding and an awesome excuse to eat sugar in the middle of the day.
Where do you usually get your inspiration for your bakes?
I’m a savory person at heart, and I get a lot of inspiration from savory foods. I love the challenge of adding unusual flavor combinations to offset sweetness. Food for me is also a very emotional experience, and I love developing recipes which feel nostalgic or evoke a sense of time and place.
How do you define success in life?
I think true success is rooted in being able to do something you love while being surrounded by loved ones. It would be naive to say that money isn’t a factor in allowing this, so the ability to financially support these values is part of that success.
Share with us some of your favorite places in LA!
Well, I am biased, but Osteria La Buca is the best restaurant in town! Mini Kabob and Found Oyster are always amazing, 1642 for music and drinks. I haven’t been eating out as much lately, but I love shopping at my local butcher McCall’s and the Hollywood Farmers’ Market for ingredients to cook at home with.
What are some of your personal plans or plans for your baking business this year?
I’m recently engaged so I’ve been having a lot of fun planning that. In regards to my business, I’m focusing on putting together sales for holidays where I can sell larger quantities at once. My next big sale will be in May for Mother’s Day!
Someone that inspires you and why
My mom. She’s the most creative person I know and always lives to the beat of her own drum.
Your favorite quote that motivates you
“You gotta live before you know the reason why” - Arthur Lee
Could you share with us a simple and quick recipe that everyone can attempt?
Of course! Here is my recipe for the pictured Orange Ginger Pie:
9in pie tin
Hand or stand mixer (or a simple whisk if looking for a work out!)
10 graham crackers
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp grated orange zest, plus more for topping
1 tsp grated ginger
1c fresh orange juice, approximately 4-5 oranges
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1c heavy cream
1c greek yogurt
1/4c powdered sugar
Crush the graham crackers or pulse in a food processor into fine crumbs. Mix well with salt, sugar and then melted butter. The mixture should be the consistency of wet sand. Lightly press into pie mould and bake 10-15 minutes until starting to brown. Let cool while you make the filling.
Beat the egg yolks on high until light and airy, about 4 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat further until the mixture is noticeably voluminous and paler in colour, about 3 minutes. Stir in the orange and lemon juices, salt, ginger and zest until fully combined. Pour the mixture into the partially baked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 22-27 minutes. The filling should be barely jiggly in the center and not at all browned. Let cool on counter for 20 minutes and then move to fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
When ready to serve, make the whipped topping. Whip heavy cream, and powdered sugar on high until stiff peaks form. Add greek yogurt and whip on medium just until fully incorporated. Spoon on pie and top with reserved orange zest.
Maddy uses ceramics from our latest CO collection and wears pieces from our upcoming collection