In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, scald milk. Then, add sugar, salt, and shortening to the warm milk. Cool mixture to lukewarm.
To yeast in mixing bowl, add cooled milk mixture and 1½ cups of flour. Mix well.
Add eggs and mix, Then, add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning dough to grease entire surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). Punch down. Let rise again until doubled. (about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, prepare the Raisin Filling.
Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 9"x13" rectangle about ¼" thick. Spread each half with 1 Tbsp of softened butter and half of the Raisin Filling. Roll up lengthwise and carefully seal the long edge. Shape each dough roll into a ring with the seam side down, pinching the ends together to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet.
With kitchen scissors, snip 2/3 of the way to the center at 1½" intervals. Let the rings rise until doubled.
Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 20-25 minutes. When cool, drizzle with Almond Glaze and decorate with nuts and cherries, as desired.