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Lattice-top cherry pie will keep 'em in smilesxi

Prepare a luscious, red, mouth-watering cherry pie for a Valentine's Day dessert, or save this family recipe until President's Day and tell how the cherry tree found its place in American lore.

There's a step for everyone in the family in the preparation of this eye-catching pie. But first, the ingredients. You'll need:2 rolled-out rounds of pie dough (prepared pie crust in the dairy case of your grocery store works fine)

4 cups frozen pitted sour cherries, thawed and drained

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar (or to taste)

2 drops almond extract

Several drops lemon juice

Press one of the dough rounds in the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch pie dish.

Place the drained cherries in a large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into pie shell.

Now it's time to weave the lattice crust. Using a pizza cutter, cut remaining pie crust round into 10 strips, 1/2-inch wide each. Place five of the strips evenly spaced, side by side, across the pie. Starting with the first strip, fold every other strip halfway back. Place another strip perpendicular to the five strips and in the middle of the pie. Fold the strips that you folded halfway back over the new cross strip.

Now fold the two strips under the cross strip halfway back. Place another strip crosswise over the pie and turn the folded strips over it like before. Repeat with one more strip. Now do the same for the other half of the pie. Fold strips over the bottom crust and crimp the edges.

Bake in 450-degree oven for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 minutes, until pie is golden.

Extra treat for pie-baking helpers: Twist leftover pie dough strips to form a spiral, place on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and bake in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Cool.