The "original", potato pancake for lack of a better word, was the Latke, which is shredded potatoes, onion, egg, and flour. I grew up eating Latkes as made above (of course, there salt and pepper were added). Hash browns also use shredded potatoes but that's all! They are browned in some sort of fat without the addition of anything else except maybe some onion. They hold together due to the crust that is formed.
This "new" one is using mashed potatoes. Now that I've thought about this for awhile the addition of flour makes perfect sense. When we make mashed potatoes we add a lot of liquid to them. Even after several days in the refrigerator sometimes potatoes will separate from their liquid. So...the flour makes sense.
Callisto, I think you have the issue pegged too with the "over mashing". They were just too loose to hold together. Maybe even MORE flour would have helped but I'm with you, I can taste the flour in my mind.
As far as it being a Rachel Ray recipe it sounds like if the recipe was followed it would have turned out i.e., adding the flour. I think RR named them appropriately. I second guess recipes all the time - that's how I ruined THREE racks of babyback ribs - boy, was I ticked!
Hey, the barrel-fermented Chardonnay would have been great with these by the way
I figured the Oak would have gone nicely with the bacon juice.
Boy, do I wish there were some potatoes in my house right now