Crust: pulse the almonds and 1/4 cups sugar in a food processor until fine. Add the flour and 1/4 tsp salt and pulse to combine. Scatter the cubed butter over the flour mixture and pulse until pea sized. Add the water, 1 tbs at a time pulsing after each addition, until dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, then shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Filling: mix the cornstarch with the 1/2 cup sugar to combine. In a large bowl, combine the cherries and their juice, the cornstarch mixture, zest, lemon juice, almond extract and the 1/4 tsp salt. Stir well and place in a 9-inch deep dish pie pan set on a baking sheet. Dot the filling with the 2 tbs butter.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch or less. Cut into 2-3-inch squares. Arrange on the top of the filling in a patchwork pattern pressing pieces around the edge into the pie pan. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top just begins to brown. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown. If it looks like it’s browning too much, lay a piece of foil on top of the pie plate.