3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, plus 1 beaten egg for brushing
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
8 cups fresh cherries (Bing, sour or a mix; about 2 1/4 pounds), pitted
2/3 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of your cherries)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Make the crust: Pulse the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the shortening and 1 stick butter; pulse until the flour looks like coarse meal. Add the remaining butter and pulse until it is in pea-size pieces. Add the egg yolk and 6 tablespoons ice water; pulse until the dough just begins to clump, adding up to 2 more tablespoons water if needed. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and gather into a 2-by-12-inch log. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Put a baking sheet on the middle oven rack and preheat to 400 degrees F. Make the filling: Combine the cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice, and almond extract in a large bowl; toss until the sugar is dissolved and the cherries are coated. Set the filling aside.
Cut the dough in half; cut one half into 6 pieces (keep the other half refrigerated). Roll each piece into a 6-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Ease each round into a 5-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge. Evenly divide the filling among the bottom crusts (the pies will be full).
Remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator and use to make the top crusts (see options below); assemble the pies. Brush the top crusts with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Refrigerate the pies until firm, about 30 minutes. Put the pies on the hot baking sheet in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until the crusts are golden and the fruit is bubbling, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
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