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Monday, April 26, 2021

Trader Joe's Portuguese Custard Tarts

Ah, the Portuguese. First they gave us the man o' war, then they gave us Fado music, later Cristiano Ronaldo, and now these custard tarts. That's quite a legacy.

We have a couple of firsts here. The first first is that, at least as far as I can recall, this is the very first Trader Joe's product we've tried that's actually imported from Portugal. Sweet. I had an opportunity to go to Lisbon once, via train out of Madrid, Spain. I opted for Paris instead. Ah, well. Next time.

The second first is that, at least as far as I'm aware, TJ's is actually giving us air fryer heating instructions on the back of the package. About time. Sonia and I have been rocking a Ninja since Christmas time. You know that if Sonia and I, still attempting to live somewhat minimalistically, have jumped on that bandwagon, that it's high time you do too if you haven't already. Air fryers are friggin' awesome. I won't say this is the first Trader Joe's item we've heated in the air fryer, but I will say that it's the first time we're not just guesstimating times and temperatures and are actually following some real printed we can blame Trader Joe's if it doesn't turn out all right.

I'm excited. Let's eat some tarts.

After heating, the tarts were just slightly darkened on the top, near where the custard intersects the breading. The smell wasn't very pungent. It was almost like a faint quiche type smell, by virtue of a very similar crust.

They were incredibly crumbly. The tarts seemed to want to fall apart upon taking a single bite out of them. They were almost explosive the way they flaked apart and spread crumbs all over the plate and surrounding tabletop. I wasn't sure whether to try eating them with a fork, pulling the tart from the little aluminum tray bite by bite, or whether I should just yank the whole thing out to attempt eating it by hand. Neither method was particularly successful at minimizing the crumb carnage. These are definitely not something to eat on the road while driving.

The custard was thick and surprisingly not too sweet. It was much more creamy and eggy than anything else. There's a warm, hearty, homemade quality to it. I'm sure if it were ever Americanized, they'd make the custard much sweeter. Not saying I'd prefer it that way, just pointing out that it's much more buttery than sugary.

$2.99 for four tarts. These would be pretty decent for either breakfast or an after-dinner dessert. They're like a little piece of Portugal right in your own air fryer. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. When I travel to Macau, I have these. They are sold everywhere on the island. Yep, they are flaky and messy. o que você está indo fazer? Usually they are sold on a piece of wax paper for immediate consumption.

  2. These are seriously, seriously good! Remind me of a creme brulee in a pastry cup. I highly recommend them to all customers I see in store browsing the dessert section.

  3. I was never crazy about these egg tarts until I had them at Pasteis de Belem in Lison, Portugal. I had these egg tarts at other bakeries in Lisbon, but not as good as Pasteis de Belem. Either they are too sweet or the crust is not as flaky. At Pasteis de Belem, most likely you will get one that has just come out of the oven b/c there are a lot of patrons so that have to make a lot. At least that was what happened to me. I went there multiple times because it was that good. After that experience, I will only have Portugese egg tarts only from Pasteis de Belem, which means never because I don't think it's likely I will go back b/c there are so many other countries I want to visit in this short life. But I guess, for those who cannot or will not make the trek to Lisbon, these will do.

  4. I love these! I have bought one box of four and have only one left. Went to TJ's today but they were out of them. I really hope they are not a "limited time only" item. They are one of the few desserts I really like and no, they are not too sugary. Loved the pastry even if it was crumbly. More like a croissant dough.

  5. These are also very popular in Asian bakeries! As someone who is Chinese and grew up eating these, me and my family absolutely loved them. The Trader Joe's ones are an amazing price compared to the normal bakery price, which is usually $1.50-$2.00.


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