This is a brand-new product at Trader Joe's; see the company's announcement of it here.
I was worried about this one. TJ's Raspberry Tarte may be the single finest item they carry. Nina and I have eaten, I think, five of them--and it is only because of monumental exercise of restraint that that number is not, like, fifty.
On the strength of that, we tried the Pear Tarte, and found it to be good, but not great. The raspberry is made great by the perfection of the fruit it contains, and in that aspect the pear was lacking. Hence my worry--what happens when there's no fruit (per se) at all?
The answer, it turns out, is more greatness. Seriously, TJ's hit it out of the park with this version. All three components were just about perfect: tender crust, amazingly tart lemon custard, and sweet, airy meringue. I loved every part of it, and every bite of it.
You guessed it: Trader Joe's Lemon Meringue Tarte is going on my Top Ten list.
For an only slightly less enthusiastic review, see what the good folks at "What's Good at Trader Joe's" blog had to say about it.
Will I buy it again?
As often as my bathroom scale tells me I can, in spite of the relatively steep price of $5.49.
This is very, very good. It would be even better with an ever-so-slightly higher ratio of lemon curd to meringue. Still, if you bought this at a bakery, you could expect—easily—to pay $12-15 dollars for it, so it is a screamingly good buy. Furthermore, all it requires is defrosting, and once defrosted, you would never guess that it had ever been frozen.
I think this is likely to be my go-to cheatery choice for potlucks when I have no time to actually make something.
This goes into the Nina's Top Ten list as well.