As written, the recipe doesn't work well. It would help to know that you must beat the yolk mixture on high speed for at least 5 minutes to get it thick. I suggest beating the yolks alone until very thick (about 3 minutes,then beating in the lemon juice and zest and butter. Is the butter melted or only at room temp? And yes, the whites must be beaten until stiff, but not dry. With these all-important tweaks, it will work. I wasted the groceries on my first attempt, and I am mad at myself for not following my instincts, which told me to change the recipe as I described. And the water bath is a hassle. I want to try it at 325F and see if it separates without the water bath.
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As written, the recipe doesn't work well. It would help to know that you must beat the yolk...