For the pastry: Cut 1/2 cup butter or margarine into 1 cup flour as though making a pie crust. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over flour mixture and blend with a fork. Roll out or pat pastry into 2 long strips, about 3 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
For the dough: Combine 1 cup water and 1/2 cup butter or margarine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add almond extract. Remove from heat and beat in 1 cup flour, stirring by hand with a large spoon. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well by hand after each addition. Spread dough over pastry. Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes, or until lightly browned and well puffed. Allow to cool slightly. Drizzle top with thin glaze and sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. Serve warm or cool.