Heat oven to 400°F.
Mix 1 1/4 cups sugar and the cornstarch in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in cherries and almond extract.
Cook over medium heat stirring continuously, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole.
Stir together flour, 1 tbsp sugar, the baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening thoroughly. Mix in milk.
Drop dough by 6 to 8 spoonfuls ont hot cherry mixture.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
Serve with whipping cream if desired