Make the crust: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Add the butter and pulse until it is in pea-size pieces. Add the vodka and 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until the dough just comes together but is still crumbly. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap; shape into a disk and wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Make the filling: Put the cherries in a medium bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup cherry juice with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the remaining 1 1/4 cups cherry juice and the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy, about 30 seconds. Pour over the cherries. Add the almond extract and gently fold to combine.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven with a baking sheet on the lower rack; preheat to 425 degrees F. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Ease the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Add the filling to the chilled crust. Transfer the pie to the hot baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue baking until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 55 more minutes. (Tent the crust with foil if it browns too quickly.) Transfer to a rack.
Meanwhile, make the topping: Combine the almonds, sugar and egg white in a medium bowl; stir to coat. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake on the upper oven rack, stirring halfway through, until dry and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then break into clusters. Sprinkle around the edge of the warm pie. Let cool completely.
Photograph by Con Poulos
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine